Lightning Ridge Easter Festival

Friday 25th March-Sunday 27th 2016

All across this country, people will mention certain 'not to miss event' or 'unique outback experience'; but the one that is on more 'To Do' lists, is the legendary Lightning Ridge Easter Festival. The Easter Festival showcases all the Ridge has to offer and more... if you are after a unique, dynamic and memorable experience join us for the 2016 Lightning Ridge Easter Festival!

Home of the elusive Black Opal and renowned for its colorful characters, barrels of dreams, opportunities and experiences! A thriving frontier town full of the iconic Australian characters that remind the traveler that the Australian spirit is not a thing of folklore; but the exact qualities that makes the Ridge so unique is as elusive as the Black Opal itself.

Easter Festival Program Summary

FRIDAY 25th March

09.00am - 2.00pm

'EGGScellent' EXHIBITION, Opening Thursday Night

@ The Arts & Craft Centre

9.00am - 5.00pm


@ The Australian Opal Centre

10.00am - 10.00pm

FREE POOL & JUKE BOX ALL DAY, Restaurant opens for Lunch & Dinner all Easter Weekend, Seafood Raffles Thursday Night

@ The Lightning Ridge Outback Resort

10.30am - 2.00pm


@ The Historical Society

12noon - 4.00pm


@ The Mens Shed



@ The Glengarry Hilton

5.30pm - Late


@ The Pony Club (Gates open 4.30pm)

600pm - Late

LIVE ENTERTAINMENT - 'JKM', Seafood Raffles & Pool Competition

@ The Club in the Scrub

7.00pm - Late


@ The Bowling Club

9.00pm - Late


@ The Bowling Club, Coffee Shop opens 11am - 6pm, Bistro for Lunch 12 - 2pm and Dinner 6 - 9pm

All day


@ Next to Bowling Club

All day

AREA TOUR - Visit the sheepyard community, war memorial & museum

@ Departs from Sheepyard Inn (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) * Small donation


8.00am till 1.00pm

STREET STALLS - Gifts, Arts & Craft, Jewelery, Opals, Food, Entertainment and more for the whole Family

@ Along Morilla and Opal Streets

8.00am - 9.00am


8.00am - 1.00pm

New! MICRO DIG, Variety of Prizes donated by Local Business

@ Next to Info Tent

09.00am - 5.00PM


@ The Australian Opal Centre

9am - 12.30pm


@ The Historical Society

9am - 2pm


@ The Arts & Craft Centre

9am - 2pm

POP-UP - Food, Fun & Creative Things happening - Come in and see

@ 12B Opal Street




THE BIG DIG $15,000 worth in Opal Prizes


OPAL CAVE MINERS RICKSHAW CHALLENGE and BOWLING CLUB MINERS STRENGTH CHALLENGE, Prizes for each Challenge 1st $500, 2nd $200 , 3rd $100 - Finals

12 Noon- 6.00pm

HORSE RACES, First Race 1.30pm, various categories 'Fashion on the Fields', Jumping Castle, Mothers Van, TAB, Bar and variety of Food available

@ Lightning Ridge Race Club

12 Noon


@ The Lightning Ridge Outback Resort


WILD ACACIAS Exhibition Opening, Free Entry

@ 12B Opal Street


OPEN GARDEN Experience Edible Green in the Outback, Free Entry

@ 57 Bald Hill Rd

3.00 - 5.00pm


@The Lightning Ridge Race Club

4.30pm - Late

TEXAS HOLDEM POKER, Names in by 4.30pm

@ The Club in the Scrub



@ The Lightning Ridge Outback Resort

6pm - Late

LIVE ENTERTAINMENT, Kitchen opens Easter for Lunch & Dinner

@ The Glengarry Hilton

6pm - Late


@ The Bowling Club

7pm - Late

LIVE ENTERTAINMENT 'Red Necked Gentleman' on Outdoor stage

@ The Lightning Ridge Outback Resort

8.30 - 9.00pm


@ The Oval

All Day


@ Next to Bowling Club


7.00am - 12noon


@ Various Locations Around Town

8.00am - 1.00pm


@ Next to Info Tent



@ The Club in the Scrub

9.00am - 1.00pm

PIGLET RACES Piglets have their own little Racing Track

9.00am - 12.30pm


@ The Historical Society

9.00am - 2.00pm


@ The Arts & Craft Centre

9.00am - Late

KIDS FUN DAY (Hat parade, Easter egg hunt), FIND & POLISH YOUR OWN OPAL, Kitchen open and famous homemade pies daily

@ The Sheepyard Inn

9.00am - 5.00pm


@ The Australian Opal Centre

9.30am - 11.30am




@ Next to the Info Tent


LITTLE DIG $3,000 worth in 'Techie' prizes

10.30am - 2.00pm


@ The Club in the Scrub


FLOAT PARADE showcasing Lightning Ridge as well as a static Mining Display showing “The Evolution of the Mining Industry in Lightning Ridge”. A verbal description of Mining Display by a local Miner after the Presentation of Float Parade. Prizes for Float Parade 1st $500, 2nd $200, 3rd$100, “Best Pushbike” $100 and “Encouragement Award” $100.


ANNUAL YABBY RACES, Bring your own or buy one on the day

@ The Club in the Scrub

2pm - late

'WILD ACACIAS' JAM SESSION, Pre-book Tickets Phone 0498 863 468

@ 57 Bald Hill Rd.

2.30 - 3.30pm

NEW EVENT 'LR OUTBACK RESORT MINERS CHALLENGE GRAND-FINAL'. The Finalists (1st, 2nd and 3rd) of the 'OPAL CAVE MINERS RICKSHAW CHALLENGE' and the 'BOWLING CLUB MINERS STRENGTH CHALLENGE' plus only three additional entries (drawn before the event) and one wild card entry. A total of ten Contestants will fight and give everything for the title 'The Ridge Miner of the Year 2016' Prizes 1st $500, 2nd $300 and 3rd $200

@ The Parking area Lightning Ridge Outback Resort

4.00pm - Late

Market Day Raffles with great prices - Everyone is welcome to buy tickets

@ The Bowling Club

4.00pm - Late

'DJ SWERVE' Music for the whole Family

@ The Lightning Ridge Outback Resort

5.00pm - 8.00pm

BBQ/SAUSAGE SIZZLE and COW PAT LOTTO - Bring Family & Friends for Fun, Music and Food after the Parade Presentation and the LR OUTBACK RESORT MINERS CHALLENGE GRAND-FINAL

@ The Lightning Ridge Outback Resort

6.00pm - Late


@ The Sheepyard Inn


6.00pm - Late


@ The Bowling Club

All day


@ Next to Bowling Club

Good Friday

Immerse yourself in our town history at the Lightning Ridge Historical Society's Exhibition opening of 'O'Ridge-inals' and have a chat to our local historian Barb Moritz. There is not much about the Ridge or our people that Barb does not know! 'O'Ridge-inals' is open on Friday 10.30am till 2pm and continues Saturday from 9am till 12.30pm and Sunday from 9am till 2pm.

The Lightning Ridge Men's Shed have been painstakingly building a huge model railway for a number of years now. Check out the progress between midday and 3pm for a Gold Coin Donation.

At the local Arts and Craft there is an Exhibition EGGScellent for the Easter Weekend. The Opening is Thursday night and everyone is welcome to join. Opening hours are 9am till 2pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Also make sure to check out the Collection of Australian Opal and opalised fossils at The Australian Opal Centre in Morilla Street. They will be open over the whole weekend from 9am to 2pm and this is a place not to be missed visiting.

The Bowling Club will be open all Easter Weekend and welcomes all visitors to Lightning Ridge. The Coffee Shop opens from 11am - 6pm and the Bistro is open for Lunch from 12 - 2pm and Dinner from 6pm - 9pm.

On Thursday night before Easter the Bowling Club has Live Entertainment with Norm Price 'The Willie Nelson Tribute Show' starting at 7pm. A great entertaining night to warm-up for the Easter weekend. There will be Live Entertainment on Friday 9pm, Saturday 6pm and Sunday Night from 6pm. Seafood Raffles starting at 7pm on Friday night and on Sunday afternoon from 4pm there is a big "Market Day Raffles". We also have a kid's playground so come in for a Coldy, meet some miners at the bar and have some fun with the whole family.

The Lightning Ridge Outback Resort has got Seafood Raffles on Thursday night. Everyone is welcome to buy some tickets. On Good Friday the bar is open from 10am - 10pm. Free pool table and free jukebox available all day. The Bottle shop will be closed Friday so make sure you get your drinks on Thursday. The LR Outback Resort's Restaurant will be open everyday for Lunch 12 - 2pm and Dinner 5pm - 8.30pm. We have a nice
outdoor area as well as a playground for your kids while you are enjoying a cold drink.

The Grawin/Glengarry/Sheepyard Opal fields are approximately 60km to the West of Lightning Ridge. Please note that a proportion of the road is unsealed so travel to this area should be undertaken with care. It also is a working mine area and as such, be very careful about walking around and through the mining areas. Open mine shafts and mining operation can be dangerous.

You will find two pubs and a club in the area - all worth visiting:
The Glengarry Hilton, The Sheepyard Inn and The Club in the Scrub with its unique Golf course.

At the Glengarry Hilton you will get a yummy Seafood Buffet on Good Friday starting from 1pm. The kitchen will be open daily for Lunch from 12 - 2pm and Dinner 6 - 8pm. For budget Accommodation and free Camping please call Phone 02 6829 3983.

There is a Local Tour available with its starting point at The Sheepyard Inn. For a small donation you get to visit the Sheepyard community, War Memorial and Museum. The Bus will operate Friday, Saturday and Sunday all day.

The Sheepyard community War memorial and its Museum is a 'Must See" when you are in the area.

The annual gathering for ANZAC day out there attracts hundreds of visitors from various parts of Australia each year. The Service starts at 8arn followed by a breakfast at Lake Beard. This is the only places in Australia having a fully operational WW1 Matilda Tank in its parade.

The Sheepyard Inn is a truly unique bush pub and its kitchen will be open for the Easter Weekend. They will also have their famous homemade pies and plenty of ice cold beer available. For Accommodation enquiries and free camping please call Phone 02 6829 3932.

At around 6.30pm you can make your way to The Club in the Scrub at the Grawin Opal Fields. You can have a yam with the Opal miners, play table tennis, snooker or darts. At 6.30pm there will be Live Entertainment 'JKM', Seafood Raffles and there also is a Pool Competition.

This year we will also have The Lightning Ridge Black Opal Bull and Bronc Ride return to the Easter Festival after being a great success last year. The gates open at 4.30pm and the action starts at 5.30pm at the Pony Club grounds - just a short distance up the 3 Mile Road.

The Bull Ride will feature professional bull riders testing out their skills to see who can last the longest / eight seconds. Entry Fees: Adults $20, Children $10 (12yrs & under free), Family $5O (2 Adults and 2 Children). There is a Bar, BBQ and DJ Entertainment.

There will be a Carnival & Sideshow all day for Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the block next to the Bowling Club. Take the kids for loads of fun and thrills.

Easter Saturday

Come down to the intersection Morilla Street and Opal Street where all the action is!

We have a variety of different Street Stalls on Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday with a range, from gifts, produce, Jewelery, Opals and Fashion as well as Food, Coffee and Entertainment. Stalls will be open from 8am till around 2pm. Bring the family and friends for this fun filled day.

Early start at 8am for the heats of The Opal Cave Miners Rickshaw Challenge. The Opal Cave located opposite of the Post Office is kindly supporting this popular challenge. Locals versus visitors in a test of strength, strategy and resilience. Contestants have to shovel Opal dirt into a rickshaw (miner's wheelbarrow) the same way as they do in an opal mine. Then wheel the rickshaw 20 meters down the street to fill up a 44 gallon drum. If you wish to enter then register at the information tent corner Opal/Morilla Street at 7.30am. There are only fifteen places available so get in quick. It is $5 to enter this competition with three heats of 5 persons per trial. The fastest five overall will go forward to the final.

There also will be a new challenge this year. The Bowling Club Miners Strength Challenge will test you and will show you what some of our miners do on a daily basis. Contestants must drag an automatic hoist for a distance yet to be set. This will simulate the climb down the hole.
Then you must hold a jackhammer (used by the miners) directly in front of you for a time to be set and than held directly above your head for as long as you can. This also will simulate what a miner needs to do to dig a face of dirt underground. Everyone from 18yrs is welcome to take part. We will have three heats of five and later on today we will run the final. Winner/1"t place of the Bowling Club Miners Strength Challenge and of the
Opal Cave Miner Rickshaw Challenge wins $500, Runner-upl2nd place $200 and 3'd place $100. All Participants for these Challenges please ensure you wear closed in shoes.

The 1st, 2nd and 3rd of the Bowling Club Miners Strength Challenge as well as the Opal Cave Miners Rickshaw Challenge qualify for the LR Outback Resort Miners Challenge Grand-Final on Sunday afternoon after the parade at around 3pm. The LR Outback Resort Miners Challenge Grand-Final will be held at the parking area of the LR Outback Resort. Contestants must feed a set amount of dirt into a blower and
the fastest time wins the title The Ridge Miner of the Year 2016.

You will also see ten mounds of opal dirt dumped on the corner Opal and Morilla Street and soon you will realise they have valuable Opal buried deep inside. Make sure to buy your tickets to be in the running to be one of the lucky contestants drawn out for The Big Dig commencing approx.10.30am. Tickets are only $5 and can be purchased at the info tent. There are no limits to the number of tickets you can buy but YOU HAVE TO BE IN IT TO WIN IT!l!!!!!

Around $15,000 worth of Opals up for grabs. Didn't get drawn? Hang around to watch the entertainment as the lucky ones dig madly searching thousands worth of opal. If your name is drawn from the barrel you choose your mound of dirt and are GUARANTEED to find a prize. You just have to keep digging until you find it. Entrants please try and wear closed in shoes.

New kid on the block this year will be The Micro Dig. We will have a small pit with opal tailings and for a gold coin donation you will be able to pick and grab two tailings and check to see if you find a number written underneath. If you do you will win one of the prices donated by our local business. There is no age limit for The Micro Dig... .so young and old can have a go. Come and see us next to the information tent and try your luck as
often as you wish. We will be going until the last prize is gone!!!!

Starting at 9am there will be a POP UP at 12B Opal Street. Come in and see for yourself, We have yummy food, fun and creative things happening.

At 2 pm we will be opening our exhibition Wild Acacias, a collaborative Multi-media Exhibition by Goodooga born artists Glenn Skuthorpe, Warren and Josie Mason. Entry is free and a collection of original works available for purchase.

There will be an Open Garden for tourists at 57 Bald Hill Road. Come in at your leisure, wander in and experience lush edible green in the Outback. Tour our regenerative semi-arid back-yard veggie garden and learn about growing successfully in the environment- Free entry.

At the same location you can attend the Wild Acacias Jam Session on Sunday at 2pm. This will be an afternoon of music featuring Glenn Skuthorpe and a grazing feast of locally sourced produce. Tickets need to be pre-purchased. Phone 0498 863468 or Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Concession $28, Adult $35, under 14yrs free and Family $86 (2 Adults and2 Teenager), BYO alcohol.

One hundred and four years of racing in Lightning Ridge! The Horse Races kick off from 12 noon at the racecourse (Kaolin Street - just behind the Lightning Ridge Bowling Club). It will be a fun afternoon for the whole family. Admission to the races $15 for Adults, $10 for Pensioners and Children over 12, Children under 12's are free.

There will be Fashion on the Fields with seven different categories:

  • Tiny Tots: 5yrs and under boy/girl, "Little Miss and Master 6 to 12 yrs, 'Fillies and Colts" 13to 17 years
  • Miss and Mr Race Goer: 18 to 30 yrs, "Classic Lady and Gentleman" over 30yrs, "Best Dressed Couple"
  • Best Millinery: This will be an afternoon with first class racing, top betting and entertainment.

There also will be a jumping castle, Mothers Van catering by Rotary, TAB facilities, Bar and a variety of food available. From 3pm till 5pm there will be live Entertainment playing for the crowd. Please note that there is no parking inside the gate.

Glengarry Hilton at the Grawin Opal fields will have Live Entertainment starting at 6pm. Dance the night away.

The Club in the Scrub will have a TEXAS HOLDEM POKER night, Names need to be in by 4.30pm Saturday, Shuffle up & Deal at 5pm Its $20 per person to play and the prize pool will be determined by the number of players. Minimum Price is $200.

As the sun goes down head to the Bowling Club for Live Entertainment starting at 6 pm.

The Lightning Ridge Outback Resort will have Silks and Schooners starting from 12 Noon and will also have BBQ/Sausage Sizzle at 5pm The Restaurants kitchen will be open for Lunch and Dinner. On their Outdoor stage from 7pm till late the LR Outback Resort has Live Music 'Red Necked Gentleman' on their program.

Be sure to be outside when you hear explosions for our annual famous Fireworks Spectacular from approx.8.30pm - 9pm. Best vantage areas are along Kaolin Street between Onyx and Agate Street but can be viewed really pretty much from anywhere in town.

Easter Sunday

Our Market Stalls are back for you starting from 8am onwards. They will be spread around town and have a great variety of goods available. Come and grab a coffee and a cupcake or an ice cream and have a stroll around to see what's on offer. The stalls will be all along Opal and Morilla Street until the Float parade starts.

We are proud to welcome Noah's Farm Thoroughbred Racing Pigs to town for a fun and entertaining event the whole family will love and enjoy. There will be the chance to enter a draw for all four races to win the chance of naming one of the pigs. This event is for kids with small cash and surprise merchandise prizes to the winners. The piglets have their own little race track and are competing against each other. This event is not to be missed,

We are also calling for victims ooooops 'volunteers' in the Strength Challenge. We will be running one for kids, one for mums and one for dads. Who will be the last person standing? Free to enter.

Also always popular our Egg and Spoon Races with fresh eggs! Not boiled but fresh and gooey runny eggs. New this year will be our Egg rolling event for kids and parents. Free entry and fun guaranteed.

Our Main Event everyone is raving about and hoping to take part is The little Dig which commences at about 10.30am. Very similar to The Big Dig, but it's just for the kids (8 - 16) years of age. Over $3000 in techie prizes to be won, including a Sony Playstation PS4, X Box, Ipod Nano, Notebook computer, LED TV and more. Tickets are only 2 for $5 and can be purchased at the info tent. There is not limit to the number you can buy. Kids please try and wear closed in shoes if you enter. Good luck to all entrants - a guaranteed prize and fun experience not to be missed.

This year we are very proud to offer a fantastic set up to all our visitors as well as locals to come and take pictures with The Lightning Ridge Easter Bunny. Our famous local artist John Murray has painted a fabulous unique backdrop for our Lightning Ridge Easter Bunny. It's very unique and shouldn't be missed. For a Gold Coin Donation you can take as many pictures as you like with your camera, Phone and Ipad and we don't
mind if you #LightningRidge# on Twitter or put us on Instagram You can find the Bunny next to the info tent all morning.

This years Float Parade will showcase Lightning Ridge in all its Variety. Its theme is 'Lightning Ridge - It's us' So it's all about Opal, the "Big Boys Toys" and the Opal Miners Lifestyle, People of our wonderful town, our Quirkiness and Diversity. Anything goes!!!

The parade will start at 1.30pm so make sure you line up all along Morilla Street to watch the procession. Prizes will be 1st $500, 2nd $300, 3rd $100, Best decorated Push Bike $100 and Encouragement Award $100.

The float parade is free to enter this year. A static mining display showing the evolution of the mining industry in Lightning Ridge will also be part of our parade.
The parade will finish alongside the LR Outback Resort parking area and Footy Oval in Onyx Street.

There will be a verbal description of the static mining display done by a local miner after the presentation of the float parade as well as after "The Lightning Ridge Outback Resort Miners Grand-final". Come along and have a chat to us! We are happy to explain what we do.

The LR Outback Resort Miners Challenge Grand-Final will be held after the Float Parade at the parking area of the LR Outback Resort on Sunday afternoon starting at around 3pm.

The 1st, 2nd and 3rd of the The Bowling Club Miners Strength Challenge as well as The Opal Cave Miners Rickshaw Challenge qualify for it. There will only be three additional entries (drawn before the event) and one wild card entry. A total of ten contestants will fight and give everything for the title to compete for the title The Ridge Miner of the Year 2016. The winner of this challenge will get $500, 2nd $300 and 3rd $200.

All prizes are cash prizes!!! Participants for these Challenges please ensure you wear closed in shoes.

The LR Outback Resort will have 'DJ Swerve' be playing Music for the whole Family starting at 4pm. At 5pm they will fire up the BBQ for a Sausage Sizzle and also having Cow Pat Lotto till 5pm. Come with family & friends for fun, music and food after our parade and Blower Challenge/Grand Final.

The Bowling Club has a big 'Market Day Raffle' starting at 4pm. Everyone can purchase tickets to go into the draw for fabulous prizes. There will be Live Entertainment following the "Market Day Raffles" and finishing of the night.

Anyone heading to the Grawin / Glengarry / Sheepyard Opal fields will find plenty of choices all day long for the whole family: At 8am The Club in the Scrub kicks it of with a Golf Competition with great prizes to be won. At 10.30am there will be a free Easter Egg Hunt and Eater Bonnet parade. All kids are welcome to join the fun. From 12 to 2pm there will be Chook Raffles and Easter Raffles followed by the annual Yabby race. You can bring your own yabby or buy one on the day.

The Sheepyard Inn will have kids fun day starting at 9am. There will be a hat parade and Easter egg hunt.

There also will be the opportunity to find and polish your own Opal! Good luck and have fun.


A huge thanks again to all our Sponsors

Our Major/Gold sponsors 2016:

  • Lightning Ridge Bowling Club 
  • Walgett Shire Council
  • Opal Cave
  • Lightning Ridge Tourism Association
  • Lightning Ridge Outback Resort
  • Lightning Ridge Racing Club

Our Silver sponsors 2016:

  • Down to Earth Opals
  • Jenni Brammall / Australian Opal Centre
  • Best Employment
  • John Murray Art Gallery
  • Chambers of the Black Hand
  • The Grawin Club in the Scrub
  • Khan’s Supa IGA
  • Mr.Cheap Bargain Warehouse
  • Lost Sea Opals
  • Black Opal Tours
  • Glengarry Hilton / The Sheepyard Inn
  • Sheepyard and Community War Memorial
  • PW Concrete and Gravel
  • Opal Bin / Outback Opal Tours
  • Mandala Opals
  • Black Opal Direct
  • Absolute Opals
  • Peter Carroll Opals
  • Jenny Brad & Derrick Dunlop

Our Bronze Sponsors 2016:

  • Opal Caravan Park
  • Andrew Kemeny
  • K&M Auto
  • Ridge Affordables
  • Zita’s Video
  • Crocodile Caravan Park
  • Bluey Motel
  • Bruno’s Italian Restaurant
  • Carol McClory
  • Country Wide Tyres
  • Ridge Butchery
  • Snack Shag
  • Mining and Steel
  • Toms Lapidary
  • Men’s Shed
  • Lightning Ridge Real Estate
  • Duncans Fashions
  • Harlequin Café
  • Big Opal
  • Barriekneal Fuels
  • Naomi Jaynes Hair Studio
  • Gourmet Gecko Café
  • Lightning Ridge Trading Post
  • Landmark Walgett
  • Ridge Auto Sparks
  • The Hungry Spirit / Rebel Black
  • M&D Bobcat Hire
  • Inland Distributor
  • Westpac
  • SES
  • Rural Fire brigade
  • Lightning Ridge Police
  • Ambulance and Fire Brigade
  • Lightning Ridge Miners Association
  • Ridge Redbacks Rugby League
  • Opal Caravan Park

All Weekend

Don't forget the tourist attractions, galleries and shops that are in Lighting Ridge all year round and support our community. Use your spare time between Easter Festival events to visit the numerous attractions and gain an insight into the real Lightning Ridge.

The Opal Cave, a local Opal and Jewelery shop opposite of the Post Office is one of our local Major Sponsors and has shown great support to our 2016 Easter Festival. Go and see Herman and his team and check out the specials for the Easter Weekend.

John Murray our famous local artist has also shown great support and we appreciate him painting a fabulous and unique backdrop for our Lightning Ridge Easter Bunny. Go and have a look in his gallery to see all his other incredible work.

Also make sure to drop into the Lightning Ridge Visitor Information Centre and talk to the friendly volunteers and staff to get more information regarding tours, opening hours, galleries and much much more!!

All events located at corner Morilla and Opal Street unless shown otherwise.

Please note this program of events is subject to change without notice at any time.

All our advertised Event times are approximate!!!

We do our best but things do get a little bit crazy out here!!!