Program & Events

What’s on at The Irish Woolfest

The Irish Woolfest is packed with activities and entertainment for all ages. And it’s not limited to the day itself – there are events all weekend!

Key events:

and much more, including the Canberra Celtic Pipe Band and Dancers, Australian Whipcracking Champions, The Gold Trails Re-enactment Group and of course our very own Pirate Pete. 

The Running of the Sheep

The main event

“The Running of the Sheep” has been likened to the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona and is considered Boorowa’s special woolly version. It is not to be compared to the danger of the bulls as our sheep are cute and cuddly but certainly as visually exciting. Visitors love the sheepdog component when they see the trusty kelpies leaping on and off the sheep’s backs as they race down the street guided by Farmer Ashley on his four wheel motorbike. This is an opportunity to see Boorowa’s fine Merino sheep up close and personal.

The sheep are kindly provided by Merryville Stud, which was founded in 1903 by the late Sir Walter Merriman and is in the unique position of having maintained management, selection and classing in a father/son relationship for the last 114 years.

Merryville rams are available throughout the year at all major multi-vendor sales as well as the stud’s on-property ram sale on Friday 14th September 2018. Flock rams are also available from mid-September each year. 

Visit Merryville Stud’s website



Blessing of the Fleece

An old tradition

A sheep is shorn with old time shears on the shearing shack and the fleece is thrown on the stage to receive a spiritual thanksgiving for the fine wool of the district at The Ecumenical Blessing of the Fleece.

Boorowa is world renowned for its fine wool and this is an important event of the Irish Woolfest.




Drag racing for dogs

During the Sunday you will see teams compete in a relay race; team against team. The sport of flyball is like Drag racing for dogs. The sport takes the average backyard dog, and places them in a team with fellow doggy mates to run against other doggy mates. The sport has Dogs barking in enjoyment and handlers and the crowd cheering the dogs on to close racing finishes.

At the end of racing you will see the dogs and handlers dressing up in a theme fashion parade which is a great laugh better then the Myers spring fashion parade.

So come and see teams from Queanbeyan, Canberra and Sydney battle it out for title points on the Recreation Oval from 8:00am to 4:00pm.





Saturday Night Inaugural Fireworks

Join us for the inaugural Fireworks event to mark the beginning of the 2018 Irish Woolfest on Saturday 29th September 2018. The night will start with live entertainment from 6:00pm featuring Josh Maynard, Gar MacLeman and Russell Churcher. Bring your family, chairs and a picnic and enjoy the Fireworks from 8pm.

Held at the Boorowa Recreation Club, Market Street. 



Stars Align for SugaTree – by Melissa Walsh 

The moody, modal and timeless quality of Celtic music is brought to life by folk pop trio SugaTree.

The stars aligned for Celtic folk pop trio SugaTree when Natalie Parker and Ryan Pentland approached musician and producer Yanni Dellaportas to help record some of their songs. It was when the demo tracks were being laid down in his studio that it became apparent something else was needed.

“I just started playing some mandolin over the top of the songs and it all came together,” said Yanni, who has performed with other bands but says this feels like it was meant to be. ”That was in 2012. Since then we have been recording our music, and playing lots of shows together and now we have released our first full length CD – ‘This Time’.”
For the trio, the Celtic band has come together seamlessly with the three musicians determined to just enjoy the process.

“We had gigs where we did some Irish songs and everybody started dancing so we thought it was great for us,” said guitarist and songwriter, Ryan. “ There’s not a huge amount of Celtic music on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria’s south and the response has been fantastic.”

As for music teacher Natalie, the transition to Celtic tunes has been easy with a voice that has just the haunting quality ideal for the dulcet tunes of Irish ballads.

“I love performing and singing with these guys and the response we get from audiences when we play is incredible. I particularly love it when we perform outdoors amongst nature. People of all ages dance and sing along and we all have a wonderful time together,” said Natalie who has been performing and teaching for many years. “I even have a favourite tin whistle that I picked up along the way that I love playing.”

The vibe on stage from their very first gig had always been one of fun and enjoyment. There’s a lot of freedom and trust within the group to try new things and sometimes this happens live on stage. During some of the longer shows, Ryan would create songs on the spot and as the band joins in, the new pieces would be slipped into the setlist seamlessly. Audiences were never aware and just thought it was a new song. Unfortunately some of these “one off” songs could never be repeated and were like gossimer in the wind, lasting only for the moment.  SugaTree have been writing and recording continuously and the new album “This Time” is the culmination of that hard work and self determination. The album’s title iteslf is serendipitous. It is the title track and describes the often difficult nature of song writing, especially lyrics but also the need for us to not stray from our ideals and goals in life.   “To thine own self be true”- Shakespeare. 

This Celtic-folk trio combine foot-stomping guitar with catchy tunes and heartfelt lyrics. SugaTree blends genres of folk, pop and Celtic in their energetic live shows. Fast moving mandolin and tin whistle melodies complete the original works with a kick drum and harmonica to get the crowd moving. With a unique, organic sound SugaTree plays wineries, festivals, restaurants, pubs and bars entertaining audiences of all ages and musical preferences.

Visit their website for a complete list of upcoming shows and to purchase the new album “This Time”



The Shearing Shack

Sheer skill!

Shearers demonstrate their great skills on the Shearing Shack throughout the day with Boorowa’s gun shearers performing at their best.

A top shearer will explain the procedures and activities performed by the shearers as they demonstrate their skills.



The Street Parade

A visual delight

Following The Running of The Sheep, the main street will be filled with a magical meandering of floats. 

Check out the creative creations from our local community and keep an eye out for Pirate Pete’s and his cheeky shenanigans.


Boutique Markets

Local quality

Tantalise your tastebuds with an array of homemade sauces, dressings and jams in unique flavours with a variety of delectable tastes to suit all palettes. Walsh’s Country Kitchen also create fruit cakes and plum puddings like Grandma used to make. Gourmet honey and a range of unusual bee souvenirs are available for purchase whilst a range of olive oils and olive products can be sourced from a variety of regional vendors. The Pantry on Pudman, a local shop which is well known for its great coffee, also has a wonderful range of gourmet products.

Light up your world and create atmosphere in your home with romantic candles from Three Wishes, Care for your body with a visit to health product stalls for a beautiful treat, with natural beauty products made to heal and soothe. Local Clubs will be hosting food stalls including the Historical Society and the Boorowa Lions Club.

An amazing variety of creative stalls provide a wide variety of boutique products. From garden products, to jewellery, candles, woollen garments and much more a range of quality that will dazzle you.


St John’s Art Show

Showcasing local talent

St Johns Official Opening: Cocktail Party
Friday 28 September 2018, 6:30pm $25 entry fee
Located at the Old Court House Building 


Open all weekend
Saturday 29 Sep – Monday 1 Oct 2018
Open from 10am – 5pm, Old Court House Building



Plan your visit