Festival’s new Fleece of Life in 2021

Due to the constantly changing nature of the pandemic the Festival of the Fleeces organising committee have unanimously agreed that the event, as it has traditionally been delivered for 29 years, cannot be held in a manner that is safe and economically viable in 2021.

The Festival of the Fleeces is adapting and the committee has gotten ‘COVID-creative’ for 2021. Designed to embrace and capture the same community enthusiasm and spirit that this event is known for, the hybrid version will be experienced through a mix of activities. There will be a showcase of Merriwa from the main street, to the storefronts, to the footpaths, and to front yards. Visual displays and tributes to the history of the festival will lead up to a festival first – an online digital display that brings together two icons of the town – silo art and the traditional running of the sheep.

“We are looking forward to presenting a scaled down digitalised event that still captures the great spirit of the festival of the fleeces. The committee acknowledges the support of the UHSC in running this signature event at Merriwa.” Cr Campbell said.

Upper Hunter General Manager Greg McDonald, was informed of the committee’s decision and understands the position taken. “it is the committee and the community that guides and leads the organisation of Festival of the Fleeces and I know they have the best interests of the event at heart.”

“The support Council has provided for the event in the past as part of the chartered agreement will continue this year and into the future.”

Mayor Collison said “I recognise the value of this festival to the Merriwa Community not just in financial terms but in bringing people together to celebrate all that is great in the Australian Wool Industry. I can understand residents may be disappointed that we are not yet able to return to ‘life as normal’ and have the festival as we want it in 2021, but we are still in the midst of a pandemic, and as such I respect the committee’s decision to scale down the event in 2021.”

“I encourage you to support the event in 2021, and look forward to attending the Festival of the Fleeces, in all its red sock and sheep glory in 2022.”


11-13 June 2021 – Postponed

The Merriwa Festival of the Fleeces has been a major Upper Hunter event since its creation in 1990 and this year it is celebrating 30 years! For 30 years, the Festival of the Fleeces has proudly celebrated the rich history of agriculture and sheep farming in Merriwa. We encourage you to come along and see how sheep and their fleece have shaped the community.

Each year this event generates much needed funds for Westpac Rescue Helicopter, Merriwa and District Volunteer Rescue Squads. The Festival is an event that the whole community can become involved in and enjoy.

Originally held at the historical ‘Brindley Park’ wool shed, the Festival is now held from a Friday night opening celebration to Sunday morning Bush Poets Breakfast over the June long weekend with the main Festival and ‘Running of the Sheep’ parade being held on the Saturday. With over 100 market variety stalls and 35 family attractions, the Festival is focused on community, affordability, and promotion of the Upper Hunter Shire and it’s rich agricultural history. From its humble beginnings, the Festival now attracts in excess of 5000 visitors to Merriwa and the Upper Hunter Shire to enjoy traditional country hospitality.

Other events that can be seen during the festival include; high dog jumping, working sheep dog demonstrations, sheep dog yard trials, team penning championships, whip cracking competition, fireworks display, Australian wool fashion parade, laser tag, live music and performances, vintage vehicle display, shearing demonstrations and lots more.

The Merriwa Festival of the Fleeces is a Not for Profit organisation run by community volunteers and supported by Upper Hunter Shire Council.



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Phone: (02) 6541 7046