From humble beginnings 12 years ago, the Mallee Almond Blossom Festival has bloomed into an event bigger than anyone could have anticipated, attracting visitors from interstate and beyond to the tiny town of Robinvale to bask in the beauty of the biggest explosion of almond blossoms in the Southern Hemisphere. Ashlee Falvo chats to committee chairperson Sharon Jury about this year’s event, and how the committee plan on making it the biggest and best yet. Pictures: Carmel Zaccone
COME this time of year, there’s something in the air in Robinvale.
The town buzzes with excitement as the countdown to one of the biggest events on the Sunraysia calendar gets under way.
Set to coincide with the blooming of the almond trees at the beginning of spring, the Mallee Almond Blossom Festival has become well known throughout the region.
And while many go along for a day of festival fun and food, the largest explosion of almond blossoms in the Southern Hemisphere is also a sight to see.
Seemingly endless rows of almond trees, with their Insta-worthy white and pink flowers leave revellers in awe, and have been doing so for 12 years.
Committee chairperson Sharon Jury says the event has gone from “strength to strength” over the years, and that one of the keys to its success is its affordability.
“To have an event that’s really affordable for the whole family is very important,” Sharon says.
“It’s free entry for the kids, and once you’re in the gates, the only thing you need to pay for is your food and drinks.
“We’ve really gone above and beyond with the kids entertainment this year – there’s so much for them to see and do and to keep the little ones entertained.
“I think that’s a big draw-card for people, and one of the other really big factors is that every year, we change it up.
“There’s something new and different each year, and we always aim to have something fresh and exciting – I think that helps with getting people through the gates.”
Sharon says this year’s event will be the biggest so far, with more than 60 specialty market stalls, cuisines from around the globe and an additional four bus tours out to view the blossoms themselves.
“We were overwhelmed last year with people wanting to get on the buses, so this year we added another four,” she says.
“It’s just one of those things I don’t think people ever get sick of seeing – they absolutely love it.
“I think it’s a pretty outstanding sight, but our tour guides also contribute a lot to its popularity – they’re locals, and they have the local knowledge, and people learn interesting things from them along the way.
“The tour provides all different viewpoints about the area.”
But Sharon says the festival is about more than a day of fun and flowers – it’s an opportunity to provide an economic boost to Robinvale and highlight the tiny border town.
“One of our aims is not just to promote our town, but to promote the district,” she says.
“We have an amazing food bowl here, which people may not realise … what a great little town Robinvale is.”