By Ellen Hill
Last year it celebrated the end of the Mayan calendar, but we’re all still here so Ironfest will re-live another year to embrace the theme Time Travel on April 20 and 21.
Now in its 13th year, the annual “festival with a metal edge’’ was the brainchild of artist/sculptor Macgregor Ross, who first held it in 2000 to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the birth of steel in Australia at Lithgow. About 400 people turned up.
Today Ironfest attracts more than 14,000 people and is recognised as an event of state significance supported by Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism, Destination NSW, Lithgow City Council, Delta Electricity and a host of smaller supporters.
Ironfest celebrates working and playing with metal, bringing together artists, designer makers, blacksmiths, performers of all kinds, musicians, historical re-enactors, machine enthusiasts and hobbyists from around the world.
Mr Ross urged everyone attending the festival to dress up whether they were actively taking part or merely voyeurs enjoying the spectacle: “It makes the whole thing so much more fun when everyone really gets into the spirit of things.’’
This year, The Doctor (aka Luke Sanders) has slipped through time and tides to parachute himself into the midst of the most important time travelling event this side of the Milky Way.
Will he be able to keep the peace when rampaging medieval hordes encounter the genteel Napoleonics? What will hold back the cosmic storm troopers when they stumble upon the contemporary RAAF balloon?
“This year there will also be a special guest – French Consular General Eric Berti, who will dress as a Napoleonic officer with his family, inspect the troops and present a medal to one worthy participant,’’ Mr Ross said.
However, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism chairman Randall Walker said: “Ironfest is probably best known for its living history re-enactments and characters from the past, the thrill of the St Georges Day Jousting tournament and the Battle of Lithgow by the Australian Napoleonic Association featuring infantry.
“And let’s be honest, what better way to attract a crowd than with the aroma of gun powder, the dull clang of iron and plenty of costumed damsels very much not in distress.
“Ironfest is a broadly appealing family-friendly festival with literally something for everyone from faithful re-enactments to steam punk characters and a variety of food, arts and craft stalls.’’
Ironfest will be held at the Tony Luchetti Showground, George Coates Ave, Lithgow, on April 20 and 21. Tickets: Base/gate single day $35 adults, $30 concession, $25 children, $95 families; two-day weekend $55 adults, $45 concession, $35 children, $140 families.
Details and ticket purchases: http://www.ironfest.net.