Fireworks will be lighting the sky this Saturday (January 14) announcing the opening of this years Fish ’n’ Chips festival in Brunswick Heads for the 57th annual woodchop carnival. Sparkles will hit the night sky from 9pm with the best spot being the river bank in Banner Park where on a good night the reflections in the river are as beautiful as the fireworks above.
Women and men from around the world will come to compete and find out who has the fastest axe between January 18 and the 21.
‘This is a true community run and supported event,’ said event secretary Joy Slater. ‘It started in 1961 and is run by local volunteers along with the help of the McGregors Family Carnival who helped set it up. It is about bringing people into town, providing entertainment and support for local businesses.’
The Fish ’n’ Chips festival name was conceived in true Australian style – in the pub. A reflection of the two major industries in the area at that time the Fish represents the fishing boats that set off across one of the most dangerous bars in Australia and the Chips the flying chips from logging the red cedars that were floated down the river to be traded from Brunswick.
In fact this is the second era of woodchop festivals in Brunswick with the first festival running between 1928 and 1932. The aim of this first event was to raise money to link the town of Brunswick to the beach via a footbridge – the descendant of which you can still stroll across today.
This year will see three axemen, Jamie Head, Mitchell Argent, Brad de Losa, from the Australian Chopperoo team competing.
‘In what has been a good year for the Australian axemen the five man Chopperoo team of Jamie Head, Mitchell Argent, Brad de Losa, Laurence O’Toole and Brayden Meyer combined to win the Stihl Timbersports World Championship for the third year, proving that Australia is “king of the wood” once again,’ said Ms Slater. ‘During the event they broke two world records.’
Women have been competing in the festival since 2007 and will be providing a high level of competition. Similarly the junior girls and boys will demonstrate the upcoming skills and abilities of the younger members of the sport. ‘We have a two year old boy who will be demonstrating his skills,’ said Ms Slater. ‘He is a fourth generation woodchopper and his grandfather made him a little tommy axe to use. You should see him chop.’
For more information on the Fish ’n’ Chips festival and the woodchop carnival at www.bhwoodchop.com.