Yarra Ranges Donkey Festival’s return nears

The first Yarra Ranges Donkey Festival for nine years, organised Linda Jay (pictured) of The Donkey Shop, is coming up on Sunday 21 January. Picture: MICHELLE KNOLL

On Sunday 21 January, the beautiful greens of Wesburn Park will burst alive with long ears and hearty brays to mark the return of the Yarra Ranges Donkey Festival since the very successful first edition nine years ago.

Donkeys will be coming from far and wide to compete and display their diversity and charm to an audience of enthusiastic onlookers, with over 2000 people and 40 donkeys having attended the 2015 festival.

Event organiser Linda Jay spoke to the Star Mail in September 2023 when the event was announced and said she probably got asked once a week when the next festival would be.

This year’s Donkey Festival will have categories in showing, riding, driving, standard jump, fancy dress, and even a class for donkeys entering the ring for the first time.

Stand or sit around the arena and cheer on your favourite donkey as they step up to the challenges put before them in the ring.

There will also be guest speakers, who will discuss health and hoof issues, including vet Kim Johnson from Yarra Ranges Vet Clinic and Andrew Bowe of Barefoot Blacksmith an expert farrier/author/teacher who will demonstrate and answer questions about donkey hoof care.

Beyond all of the competitions and speakers, there will also be live music from the fabulous Cajun band, Harmaniax, as well as donkey rides, show rides, market stalls, food and coffee vans and a classic car display ensuring there is something for everyone.

The event will support several community groups including the Donkey Society of Victoria, the Upper Yarra Pony Club, and the Upper Yarra SES Unit.

The event runs from 10am to 6pm and if you need to find out any more, you can contact Linda Jay at 0409 664 074 or info@thedonkeyshop.com.au for anything about donkeys, publicity or the 2015 event or Mike Bedford at 0421 217 257 or circatt@optusnet.com.au for anything on the logistics of the event, show rides or market stalls.