ENJOY letting off a bit of steam? Then Sheffield in the state’s north is definitely the place to visit next month.
Affectionately known as the town of murals, Sheffield will host the 25th annual SteamFest, one of the state’s premier family festivals on the March 9-11 long weekend – but it desperately needs volunteers to help out.
At least 110 volunteers are needed for each of the festival’s three days – to staff the train crossings, act as parking attendants, escort the steam engines and give directions.
Volunteers receive free entry to SteamFest and after four hours of work can camp free if they want.
Last year more than 7000 people made the steam pilgrimage, swelling Sheffield’s usual population of 1560 and bringing a huge economic boost to the region. It’s estimated that volunteers gave more than 1500 hours of effort to keep the event running smoothly.
SteamFest, which is held at the Steam and Heritage Centre in Spring Street, features many steam traction engines driving one of the most complete sets of displays of steam power in Australia with steam-powered rock crushing, threshing, straw pressing, chaff cutting and winching.
There is also a huge working display of historical machinery, steam train rides, exhibitions of pioneering skills and a display of vintage cars.
Sheffield, in the foothills of Mount Roland, is a friendly rural town that was once an industry centre.
The town has reinvented itself as an arts community and now features galleries, studios and museums along with more than 140 outdoor murals tracing the area’s history.
In the nearby hamlet of Promised Land you'll find Tasmazia and the Village of Lower Crackpot, one of the world's largest maze complexes with a model village, Embassy Gardens and gift shop.
Beautiful Lake Barrington is a great place for a picnic and has an international-standard rowing course as well as being ideal for those who love water skiing, canoeing and trout fishing.
Sheffield is 29km south of Devonport, 92km west of Launceston and 272km north-west of Hobart.
To volunteer, phone 0448-631-922, www.steamfesttasmania.org.au