Wistaria Festival returns to Cumberland Hospital

One of Parramatta’s most popular September events will spring to life over this weekend.

Held on Cumberland Hospital grounds in North Parramatta, the long running Wistaria Festival is a major hospital fundraiser. Proceeds raised help rehabilitate mental health patients and enhance their stay.

The Wistaria Gardens and Glengarrif House were built in the early 1900s, which soon became popular with Parramatta Park visitors before it was first opened to the public in 1929 for a small entry fee. 

This year’s attractions include Indian cultural dance group, Harley Davidson bikes, face painting and a variety of stalls. The event is famous for its hamburgers, kebab sticks, Hokkien noodles and Devonshire teas. City of Parramatta Art Society will hold a free exhibition in the patients’ activities recreational centre during the festival.  

“The free event has been a popular family fun day for more than 90 years, with more than a thousand people visiting each year,” festival committee chair Margaret Bannister said.

“We welcome many busloads of tourists who visit and walk through the gardens each year as well as families and people who want to enjoy the fresh air and the gorgeous colourful arrangements of flowers and botany throughout the gardens. It’s great to see people out and about enjoying the sunshine, our award-winning gardens and being a part of the hospital’s history. People can also visit the hospital museum and view the historic artefacts on display to learn about the history of mental health care in Parramatta.”

Stall holders were recently told by Western Sydney Local Health District the event had been cancelled. The decision was reversed 24 hours later due to public pressure. Amid widespread fears this year’s festival could be the last, a spokeswoman assured the Sun there were no plans to cancel it.

  • The Wistaria Festival is on September 16-17, 9am-4pm. Free entry.
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