Lithgow Ironfest celebrates 20 years of castles, quirky creatures and clans

Thousands of people headed to Lithgow for one of the biggest, quirkiest and interesting events on the weekend (April 27-28) - Ironfest.

Celebrating its 20th year, Ironfest is "the festival where anything goes". It transforms the Lithgow Showground into a medieval kingdom full of weird and wonderful creatures and all clans, civilised and wild.

Ironfest founder and event organiser Macgregor Ross said it had grown significantly since its early days.

"We ended up having the first Ironfest in Main Street on the footpaths and in the shops, there were about 28 people involved now we're looking at 2000 and that's just the participants," he said.

Mr Ross began his master planning for the first Ironfest in 1998 and said the idea for the festival came about when he realised Lithgow needed its own signature event.

The first two years of Ironfest had no theme, but it wasn't until the third year when the festival had grown and moved to the State Mine that Mr Ross realised there was a need for a brand.

"We were just lucky to happen the first couple of years and themes weren't really important at the time, but Steampunk was the first important theme, where it changed the festival," he said.

Now at Lithgow Showground Ironfest themes have become increasingly important, according to Mr Ross.

"They give us an opportunity to bring in a new element, but it's also part of the way we can say that we are changing and people can see that, it's not the same thing every year," he said.

Mr Ross said Ironfest crosses every field and was a chance for people to be something else for a little bit.

"It is a real escape from their lives, which we should all do," he said.

He also said he was incredibly proud of everything the festival had achieved in the last 20 years.

"Ironfest is based here and it always will be, it comes out of the ground you know, it's coal, it's iron," he said.

"We are a world class event, there is nothing like us anywhere, we are huge and truly as part of our 20th anniversary I've been going through a bit of history stuff and I saw my original proposal, it has remained pretty true to itself."