Poetry, markets and music headline Orange's Banjo Paterson festival this weekend

FISHY STORIES: Celia Kershaw is defending her poetry competition title on Saturday night after winning last year with her poem The Mullet Men. Photo: JUDE KEOGH
FISHY STORIES: Celia Kershaw is defending her poetry competition title on Saturday night after winning last year with her poem The Mullet Men. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

Paul Toole and Mike Baird failed to do it but the pulling power of the legendary Banjo Paterson was too good to resist for three local mayors.

Orange City Council mayor John Davis, Blayney’s Scott Ferguson and Cabonne’s Ian Gosper would have been united if the State Government and former Premier Mr Baird and ex-Local Government Minister Mr Toole had their way and the three councils merged.

But with the merger called off the best place to see the three mayors together is the Banjo Paterson Poetry competition on Saturday night, a key event of this this year’s Banjo Paterson festival.

The trio will compete in the mayoral challenge battle of words while 23 expert poets will compete for the major prizes.

Festival committee chairman Justin Byrne said each poet had to entertain with their own work in four minutes or less at the event at the Orange City Bowling Club from 7pm-10pm.

“The mayors may get some help with their work,” he said.

“Certainly the mayor of Cabonne will be feeling bouyed with the decision.

“I don’t know how the mayor of Blayney is feeling about it.”

Mr Byrne said the other poets would be competing in open and novice divisions.

“Most people performing work that would be described as bush verse.”

He said while spoken word poetry wasn’t as popular now as it was many years ago it was still entertaining.

“The best poets need to be part comic, part actor and part dramatist.”

Last year’s winner Celia Kershaw from Port Macquarie will defend her title.

Her winning work “The Mullet Men” was a lively recital of fishing in her home town.

Festival events kick off Saturday morning with poetry and a barbecue breakfast on the Summer Street end of Robertson Park.

Good crowds have attended the breakfasts so far with a mix of locals, tourists and school children.

“A crowd of caravaners turned up at the breakfast [Friday] morning,” Mr Byrne said.

“There were six to eight couples who travel as a group.”

There will be music and poetry at Rosebank Guesthouse at Millthorpe from 1pm-6pm on Saturday while one of the big events of the festival will be the Emmaville Cottage Family Market Day at the Botanic Gardens from 9am-2pm on Sunday.

“There will be 100 stalls,” Mr Byrne said.