The 17th instalment of the Karuah Oyster and Timber Festival will be held on October 20

Kai Johnson, 4, Xavier Styles, 6, Ben Johnson, 7, Archer Watt, 7, and Cooper Watt, 11, fishing in Longworth Park where the Karuah Oyster and Timber Festival will be held on Saturday, October 20. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts
Kai Johnson, 4, Xavier Styles, 6, Ben Johnson, 7, Archer Watt, 7, and Cooper Watt, 11, fishing in Longworth Park where the Karuah Oyster and Timber Festival will be held on Saturday, October 20. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Karuah will come alive with the sound of chainsaws and laughter next weekend when the biggest event on the town’s calendar – the annual oyster and timber festival – rolls around for another year.

By celebrating the industries town was built on, oysters and timber, the popular festival puts the usually quiet Karuah back on the map for a weekend by attracting between 3000 and 5000 people to take part in the festivities.

“This is something for the town,” festival organiser Lindsay Johnson said. “It brings people to town, local businesses benefit, but visitors also have a great time and enjoy Karuah.”

As has been tradition for the past 17 years, the festival will take place in Longworth Park. This year the festivities will be held on Saturday, October 20.

Karuah Motor Yacht Club’s popular and free children’s fishing competition will be the first event of the day. Registrations take place at the club from 8.30am.

There are plenty of prizes up for grabs and not just for the children who catch the largest fish of the day or those who snag the highest total of combined fish.

Young Karuah fisherman Archer Watt, aged 7, said he was happy to win a new tackle box, fishing rod and trophy from last year’s competition. 

The woodchopping, sawing and post-splitting will start at 10am and run in the park throughout the day.

Not just for the crowd’s entertainment, the festival’s woodchopping is sanctioned by the NSW Axemen's Association and features two state championship events – the 350mm standing block championship and 300mm hard hitting title.

The largest prize of the day, $1000, is for the Darrell Johnson Memorial 300mm standing block handicap.

Cooper Watt, 11, Ben Johnson, 7, Xavier Styles, 6, Kai Johnson, 4, and Archer Watt, 7, on the Karuah jetty near Longworth Park where the town's oyster and timber festival will be held on October 20. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Cooper Watt, 11, Ben Johnson, 7, Xavier Styles, 6, Kai Johnson, 4, and Archer Watt, 7, on the Karuah jetty near Longworth Park where the town's oyster and timber festival will be held on October 20. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

It was Mr Johnson who introduced the woodchopping elements to the festival. 

The hardest hit events will be staged in the Karuah RSL auditorium from 6pm.

The great Karuah River duck race will be held at noon. A popular part of the festival, the race sees people sponsor yellow rubber ducks for $5.

At noon some 300 ducks are tipped over the side of the Karuah Bridge and they ‘race’ – float – down to the finish line.

The first three ducks to cross the finish line share in the prize pool of cash.

Ducks are on sale now from Cole Bros Oysters at Longworth Park or from the Karuah Oyster and Timber Festival Facebook page. They will also be sold on the day.

Dean and Stephens Cole will once again supply the prime ingredient for the festival’s oyster eating competition.

Stephen Cole and Dean Cole in Longworth Park where the Karuah Oyster and Timber Festival will be staged on October 20. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Stephen Cole and Dean Cole in Longworth Park where the Karuah Oyster and Timber Festival will be staged on October 20. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

The cost to register for the competition is a gold coin. Names will be selected from a barrel at 11.30am.

The person who eats a dozen oysters the fastest in one of the three heats, which will have five people in each, will move into the final.

The three finalists must eat two dozen oysters. The fastest one to consumed the 24 oysters wins.

“We really enjoy being part of the festival,” Dean Cole said. “We’re able to showcase the oysters that grow here in the Karuah River, which are some of the best you can get.”

A wide range of market stalls, food and activities will be available in the park on the day.

The festival will kick on at Karuah RSL after 6pm. A band will pick up after the hardest hit competition ends.

Karuah RSL have donated their courtesy bus, which will be used to pick up and drop off people around town between 9am and 3pm on October 20. The schedule will be posted to the festival’s Facebook page once it is finalised.

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