THE usually laid-back, sleepy village of Wooli will come to life this weekend as thousands roll into town for the long weekend.
Adding to the already swollen population of holiday makers, the Australian Goanna Pulling Championship Festival has re-instated itself as an annual drawcard for the coastal community.
Building on the success of last year's event, which drew more than 3000 spectators, organisers Debby Thompson and Kellie Blacksell have this year extended the festival to include Friday and Saturday nights.
The festival site had been under construction since Tuesday and many wide-eyed youngsters in town have watched the giant Ferris wheel take shape.
"The festival started to flag a few years ago so we decided to make it more of a family fun day," she said.
"We introduced the carnival rides last year, and they were a big hit. But they take so long to set up, so we thought we'd invite them to start early and offer the carnival on Friday and Saturday nights."
But the carnival is just one of many attractions this year. The main event kicks off on Sunday morning as the contenders take to the stage to see who can outlast and out pull to take home the Australian championship title.
Men and women will compete in goanna pulling, while the North Coast Axeman's Association will present a woodchop.
The Grafton Dog Obedience Club will be there, 40- plus market stalls have been booked, as well as Old Macdonald's farm, face painting, and Sand Wizard.
On the pull:
The Australian Goanna Pulling Festival will start tonight from 6pm at the Wooli sportsground
On Saturday morning a special goanna pulling demo will be held at Grafton Shoppingworld with current champion Wayne 'Tank' Phillips refereeing from 9am
The main event starts in Wooli at 9am on Sunday
More info at www.goanna