July 18, 2012
The South Burnett Wine Industry Association has announced an ambitious plan to claim the new Queen’s Birthday long weekend for the region.
This year the Queen’s Birthday weekend is being moved permanently from June to the first Monday in October by the State Government, to help provide a more even spread of public holidays throughout the year.
But since October is still a peak tourism month for the region, the SBWIA want to use the opportunity to create a new long weekend event and “stake a claim” on the date for the South Burnett.
The idea is modelled on the Heathcote On Show festival which is now held over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in Victoria’s Heathcote wine region each year.
But it’s not just for wineries.
“Heathcote On Show is a big festival for the Heathcote region but it actually started off in quite a small way some years back,” SBWIA President Jason Kinsella says.
“Originally it was just a few wineries and restaurants putting on a lunch, a dinner or a bit of live music at their cellar doors for tourists.
“But from humble beginnings it’s grown into a very big party that involves all parts of the region’s wine and tourism industries.
“It brings in a lot of tourists to that area, which gives great spin-offs to related industries like petrol stations, food outlets and accommodation.
“So we’d like to do something just like that in the South Burnett before any other Queensland region wakes up to the potential of this new long weekend and beat us to the punch.”
Many SBWIA member wineries will be putting on special events during this year’s Queens Birthday weekend to launch the concept. And the SBWIA has put out a call to any other local business who’d like to become involved to “get on board”.
“We intend to start out in a very modest way by keeping costs to an absolute minimum,” Mr Kinsella says.
“We’ll be printing up a brochure and distributing it through visitor information centres, websites and some Facebook pages we’ve set up for the new Festival to get the word out as widely but as inexpoensively as possible.
“And anyone who’d like to be part of this can get their event listed on the South Burnett On Show brochure for $30 plus GST.”
The SBWIA believe that – with a long weekend to fill – tourists will be encouraged to visit several different events over the course of the weekend.
And it will be a great, right-on-your-doorstep long weekend for South Burnett residents too
“That’s exactly what happens in Heathcote, Mr Kinsella said, “so the benefits get spread pretty widely. People who’ve never been to our region before get to have a good look at all the things we have to offer while they’re here. And people who live here have a great time without having to travel far from home.”
Any event that would like to be part of the first South Burnett On Show – which will run from September 29 to October 1 – can phone (07) 4162-3899 or 0427-444-576 for more details.
The deadline for listings is 4:00pm on Friday, August 3.