Official Launch of the 2018 Naturally Loddon Spring Festival

Published on 16 August 2018

A day out for Dad: that’s the inviting prospect in store with the official launch of the 2018 Naturally Loddon Spring Festival, nine weeks of down-to-earth events designed to showcase the best of the Loddon Valley’s natural attractions.

The festival opens with a Father’s Day social afternoon on 2 September at John and Sonia Piccoli’s famed sculpture gardens at Barraport, near Boort.

The Piccolis’ property will be open from 11am to 4pm, with a barbecue operating, afternoon tea and refreshments available all day, a jumping castle and face painting.

The home gardens provide the backdrop to John’s ever-growing display of metal sculptures, all crafted from spanners.

John contracted polio when he was eight and spent the next three years in hospital. When his father died, he took up the reins as an 18-year-old and ran the family farm from his wheelchair with the help of his mother.

He began making his spanner sculptures in 2000, when the farm was leased out.

Visitors to the property enter via one of two avenues lined with 86 pieces of vintage farm machinery – all horse-drawn types once used in the Mallee and dating from 1859 to 1935.

The couple welcome visitors all year round.

“During this latest financial year, we increased our total visitor numbers to almost 10,000,” John said.

“We have about 45 sculptures on display, ranging from fruit bowls and table centrepieces to the biggest – a full-size wagon with Clydesdale – plus two acres of gardens, deer and exotic birds.

“I reckon I’ve used close to 126,000 spanners by now, with plenty more waiting.”

Entry for this event costs $5 for adults, with under 16s free. All proceeds will be donated to the pool of prizemoney for this year’s Boort Show metal sculpture competition.

For more details on plans for the launch event, phone 0409 765 271, email or go to

The “Naturally Loddon” Spring Festival comprises 14 family-friendly events spread between now and Melbourne Cup weekend.

This year’s program also includes the ever-popular Kooyoora Wildflower Show, family weekends at Terrick Terrick National Park and Little Lake Boort, nature walks, a vintage machinery rally, two town festivals, stand-up paddle-boarding on the Serpentine Creek, a spring dance and Boort’s annual metal sculpture competition.

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