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Queensland's quirky 2017

Queensland has some of the most unusual and unique events on its calendar in 2017. This year we've already missed the 35th Annual Australia Day Cockroach Races, in Brisbaneon 26 January, and the Australia Day Dunny Races on the same day, as well as the Chinchilla Melon Festival (above) in mid-February. Make a note not to miss this in 2019.

But coming up there is the Julia Creek Dirt 'n' Dust Festival, in the Outback, 7-9 April, 2017, where you can get down and dirty (literally), or The Great Wheelbarrow Race, in Mareeba, 19-21 May (above).

This gruelling 60-kilometre race is designed to honour the pioneering miners of the early 19th century, as competitors' race their wheelbarrows to the finish line. Over 450 competitors join this event decked out in wacky costumes to raise funds for local charities and small communities, with a whopping $200,000 raised in 2016. 

The Goomeri Pumpkin Festival, on the Sunshine Coast, on 28 May, is a lot of fun too, because the Great Australian Pumpkin Roll is coming back for its 20th year. 

Honouring a local identity, author P.L. Travers, who was born in Maryborough in 1899, and author of Mary Poppins, the Mary Poppins Festival in Maryborough from 23 June - 2 July, will put your babysitting skills to the test. Parade your finest hat and umbrella, and put on your most comfortable shoes to dash a pram to the finish line in the Great Nanny Race, and jazz-up your cleaning routine in the Chimney Sweep Challenge.  

In outback Birdsville, there's the Big Red Run, 24-29 June, Australia's first and only 250-kilometre running race. To make conditions harder, it is set in the blistering Simpson Desert, and competitors race 40-kilometers a day through sinking sand and camp out at night in freezing winter conditions. 

Whether you fancy yourself as a knight, a damsel or maybe even the court jester, The Abbey Medieval Festival (above) in Caboolture will have you dining, dancing and jousting your way into the past. Celebrated on the 7-8 of July you can enjoy medieval delicacies of kings and queens of old while watching dramatisations of days gone by. Even the kids will believe they were born in the wrong era with a wide range of workshops designed to teach them all about the medieval world.Abbey Medieval Festival, AbbeyStowe

Other mid-winter festivals include VIVA Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, 7-16 July, where a gaggle of Elvis impersonators will rock it out for the coveted Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist crown.

The outback Boulia Camel Races, 14-17 July, is a wacky and wonderful four-day event that adds in belly dancing, sky diving, camel rides and market stalls, 

In the chilly southern highlands, the Jumpers and Jazz Festival in Warwick, 20-30 July, suitsone of the few places in Queensland where jumpers are a necessity in winter, and comes alive to celebrate the thrill of the chill. Citizens lovingly dress 150 deciduous trees around the town in textiles and the strains of Queensland's finest jazz ensembles waft from cafes and restaurants, while events like the Spring Beanie Exhibition and live chalk artistry add to the festivities.

Then, to wind up the winter festivities, the outback Windorah International Yabby Races, 30 August, lets onlookers cheer on a sea of blue claw crustaceans as they crawl to the finish line. Each of the ten yabbies in every race is named and auctioned off, as the main street outside the Western Star Hotel fills with eager punters and live music. The event has been running since 1998, all to raise much needed funds for the Royal Flying Doctors Association and local community groups.

Ah, Queensland perfect one day - quirky the next!


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