PORT Fairy's Annie Ryan beautiful red hair was the talk of Koroit on Saturday.
The eight-year-old won the Flaming Folk Person of the Year competition at the Koroit Irish Festival.
Her father Damian said her hair colour came from both sides of the family.
"She loves red hair," he said.
Sergeant Pat Day, from Koroit police, helped judge the competition with festival president Adele MacDonald and said the winner had to have natural red hair.
"Obviously it has to be the natural Irish look," he said.
"It has to be the real deal.
"The quality of entrants was very good.
"Except for the bloke with the fake red hair."
Wangoom's Dusty Drake joined Annie on the podium when she won the Gathering of Green Eyes competition.
It was the first time she had entered the Irish Festival competition and she said she was very excited.
Festival president Adele MacDonald said this year's event had been the most electric.
"We've got fantastic weather, it has been perfect," she said.
"People are loving it.
"They came in as soon as the gates opened.
"I think this has been the most electric atmosphere.
"People missed it last year and this is really the first event of the year."
The festival sold out this year with 3500 people from around the country expected through the gates.
Mrs MacDonald said Saturday night would be huge for the town.
"The pubs will be rollicking," she said.
"People won't want to stop having fun."
For Irish couple Anna and Sean Kennedy the Festival was something that brought them back to their roots.
It was their 10th time at the event for the South Australian couple who arrived in Australia in 1963 and met five years later.
"It arouses memories of the past," Mr Kennedy said.
He joked that his Irish roots went back to the last King of Ireland Brian Boru in 1014. "I'm a direct descendant," he said.
Sisters Trudy Geisler, from Queensland, and Jayne Flemington, from Coffs Harbour, said the event was worth coming back to year in year out.
It was Ms Geisler's fifth festival and Ms Flemington's first.
"There's 16 of us all in our caravans," Ms Geisler said.
"We love it.
"We think it's fabulous, that's why we keep coming back."
Meanwhile the competition was tight but Orla O'Kane and Rhona McDonagh were crowned winners of the Koroit Irish Festival Spud Picking Competition.
Ms O'Kane, from Derry in Ireland, and Ms McDonagh, from Roscommon in Ireland, said the festival gave them a feeling of home.
Ms O'Kane, who plays gaelic football, has been coming to the Festival for three years.
"I do it every year," she said.
Asked what kept bringing her back, she said "in Irish - it's the craic."
"It's such a fun weekend," she said.
"It's also team bonding for us.
"It's a little bit like a home away from home."
For Festival Ambassador Marie Conheady it was difficult to cross the street without someone wanting a chat, with people affectionately calling her Lady Conheady.
She said the day had been wonderful.
"I've enjoyed every minute of it," she said.
"I didn't think I could speak to so many complete strangers.
"It has been a great weekend."
Barongarook West's Jude Tuffleby brought her Irish Wolfhound, Orion, who also got plenty of attention from the crowd. She said the dog, which weighed 60kgs, was a big softy.
"There's a saying with wolfhounds, they're gentle when stroked but fierce when provoked," she said.
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