Welcome to the wild, wild west

Back for more: Liam McGonigle, James Smith, Kristy Kimber, Cassandra McGonigle and Alan Moxey from the steampunk group Airship Sirius. Photo: Hosea Luy.
Back for more: Liam McGonigle, James Smith, Kristy Kimber, Cassandra McGonigle and Alan Moxey from the steampunk group Airship Sirius. Photo: Hosea Luy.

This years Ironfest promises even more events, spectacles and displays in another display of culture and fun. Now in it’s 19th year, Ironfest continues to grow, bringing in larger crowds and providing more entertainment than ever before. The Wild West theme providing more opportunities to dress up along with allowing more exhibitors to show off their amazing crafts and skills.

Off to the ball: Chloe Zurynski shows off her spectacular dress at last year's Ironfest Ball. This year's Wild West Ball will be spectactular. Photo: Phoebe Moloney.

Off to the ball: Chloe Zurynski shows off her spectacular dress at last year's Ironfest Ball. This year's Wild West Ball will be spectactular. Photo: Phoebe Moloney.

The historical and cultural event began in 2000 and celebrated the 100 year anniversary of the birth of steel in Australia, which occurred at Lithgow’s Blast Furnace. Created by local artist and festival director, Macgregor Ross, the not-for-profit event brings together artists, designers, blacksmiths and craftsmen, street performers, musicians, historical re-enactors, hobbyists and more from all over Australia.

The first festival comprised of an exhibition of metal sculpture, paintings and drawings, accompanied by blacksmith demonstrations and local music. Approximately 400 people visited the inaugural Ironfest and the 30 artists participating. Last year saw 18,000 visitors enjoy the festival across the weekend and festival director, Macgregor Ross, is predicting even more for the Wild West event. “Pre-sold tickets are up 30 per cent on last year and we are looking at around 20,000 people coming to experience Ironfest in 2018,” he said.

Always a favourite: Damon Guerrera and John Williams don their armour and prepare for battle in the Medieval Village. Photo: Blue Mountains Gazette.

Always a favourite: Damon Guerrera and John Williams don their armour and prepare for battle in the Medieval Village. Photo: Blue Mountains Gazette.

All the crowd favourites will be back such as the St George’s Day Jousting Tournament, 19th and 20th century battle reenactments including the Battle of Lithgow and cosplay competitions, along with big bands from across the Central West and Blue Mountains. The 3rd Annual Ironfest Ball will also be held on Saturday April 21st at Lithgow Workies complete with Saloon Girls, tricky card sharks and the “Pianny Player” tickling the ivories.

New to the festival this year is the risque “Burlesque Bandwagon”, American civil war reenactments and Byron Bay street performer, daredevil and Guinness World Record Holder “The Space Cowboy”, whose sword swallowing and daring stunts continue to amaze people across the globe.

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Mr Ross said this years theme will be enjoyable for everyone who wants to recreate the past. “The wild west was an amazing period in history and the theme is aimed at giving people who don’t normally dress up, the opportunity to, it’s not hard with just jeans, boots and a chequered shirt. Some people put in an enormous amount of effort which is fantastic, but some can feel a bit in awe so this is a great way for them to join in without too much hassle,” he said.

Since it began Ironfest has attracted over 140,000 visitors to the region and contributed over $20 million towards the local economy. For more information visit https://ironfest.net/.