The little town of Bingara sporting just 1300 people holds an annual Orange Day Festival which draws crowds from far and wide. It is quite remarkable in many ways. The city has no equivalent.
Firstly the town has streets lined with orange trees which are laden with fruit. Everywhere.. Absolutely dripping. This is in itself is a curiosity as Bingara is certainly not a citrus growing region.
Strangely no-one touches the oranges! Visitors to Bingara simply cannot get over the massive harvest available and the mystery of it all.
The secret to this extraordinary display is that the oranges are a living memorial to the fallen soldiers in WWI and WWII.
Each year they are grown as a perpetual reminder of the sacrifices made.
And then something wonderful happens….
All the children from the school descend on the orange trees and after a memorial service for fallen soldiers, they pick all the oranges in one fell swoop.
All picked and gone in a frenzy of activity The oranges are then sent to nursing homes, hospitals and the aged as a blessing to them. Anyone for freshly squeezed orange juice?
Anyone for freshly squeezed orange juice?
Immediately after, the main street of Bingara is sealed off and then the fun begins. Everyone is welcome to join in.
The preschool and school have floats, the gardening club, local bands, the Lions club, the library you name it…. Big Norm who weighs in at around 20 stone dressed as a woman waves to the crowd riding somewhat erratically on a tiny bike.
Kids with their go karts ride through making a blistering racket. John the drove harnesses his Clydesdales up and rides are on for everyone. Never mind the odd plop in the main street.
It’s on for young and old. Fairy floss, the sock man, plants, cakes and anything second hand. Jumping castles of course, and this year it is Rock n Roll in the main street. The whole main street is a hive of activity. Is this really sleepy little Bingara?
Vintage and veteran car clubs are invited and anyone is welcome to join in. Even the local MLA walks the streets amid cheers and waving. Smiles all round.
And Bingara swells to crowds of thousands. People everywhere.
Along the footpath we have locals with pots of stew, curries and lots of cakes and biscuits. Stallholders from everywhere. Clowns and entertainers line the streets.
The Salvo band plays just outside the local pub. The friendship and goodwill is tangible. And why not call in to the local pub for a frosty beer and hot pie?
This is what we love about this little town. Everyone knows everybody and it is the norm to talk to people you don’t know and to chat. To get involved and really feel part of a community.
What to Do with all those Oranges?
The flavour is amazing. Rich dark chocolate flavour with the aroma of oranges and coffee.
Rich dark chocolate flavour with the aroma of oranges and coffee