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Festival of Fleeces forces traffic changes on Golden Highway

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One of the biggest events on the Upper Hunter calendar will force changed traffic conditions on the Golden Highway this long weekend.

With thousands of people set to descend upon Merriwa for the annual Festival of the Fleeces, and the much-loved Running of the Sheep, Transport for NSW (TfNSW) is stepping in to ensure the safety of those in attendance and motorists.

The Golden Highway will be closed between Dutton and Marquet streets from 4am until 6pm on Saturday 8 June.

“Those travelling through Merriwa during this timeframe should allow extra travel time and expect delays,” a TfNSW spokesperson said.

“A detour will be in place via Marquet, Blaxland and Dutton streets.

“We thank everyone for their patience.”

The Festival of the Fleeces is a major drawcard in the region, with visitors expected from Newcastle, Sydney, Mudgee, Tamworth and beyond.

And, the 2024 edition, themed Golden Years, Golden Shears, will entertain all with markets stalls, street entertainers, rides, exhibits, competitions, demonstrations and a grand parade like no other.

Hundreds of sheep, in their red socks, lead the charge up Bettington Street, followed by musicians, vintage cars, community groups and much more.

For more than 30 years, the festival has honoured the great wool tradition of the Upper Hunter and showcased “life on the land”.

“The event focusses on community, family and the rich agricultural history of the region,” chairman Rob Tindall said.

“From humble beginnings, more than 6,000 people now head to Merriwa to enjoy traditional country hospitality.

“Starting on the Friday – with opening night celebrations – the festival runs through to Sunday morning with the Bush Poets’ Breakfast followed by a Bush Poet’s Workshop.

“We also generate much-needed funds for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service and the Merriwa and District Volunteer Rescue Squad.

“Last year’s event went off with a bang with people flocking from near and far to celebrate this incredible weekend.

“And, now, we’re ready to hit the ground running in 2024.

“Hopefully, the weather treats us well.”

For the latest traffic updates download the Live Traffic NSW app, visit livetraffic.com or phone 132 701.

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