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Wine, Food & Fun In The Park

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International man of mystery Austin Flowers made a surprise appearance at this year’s Wine and Food In The Park festival, where he quickly made new friends

March 12, 2019

It’s a simple idea … wine and food in a park but it’s proved to be a winning formula in Kingaroy for the past 20 years.

The annual South Burnett Wine and Food in the Park Festival has always provided an opportunity for friends to relax, enjoy some music and explore South Burnett wine.

“After 20 years an entire generation has grown up with Wine and Food, and the festival has grown up right alongside them,” WAFITP organising committee president Dafyd Martindale said on Monday.

“Our region’s wine industry has also blossomed to produce wines that are now equal to the best in Australia.

“The festival has become an annual ‘day off’ for the region every autumn that we know many people genuinely look forward to.”

Dafyd said the Festival Committee was proud that roughly half the people who come every year don’t live here.

“We’re also proud that as a community festival, we plough the majority of the funds we raise back to local performers and community groups,” he said.

The 2019 Wine and Food in the Park Festival again drew big  crowds to Memorial Park on Saturday.

“Numbers were definitely up on last year although final figures won’t be known for a few days,” Dafyd said.

“We estimate we had about 1500 adults in the grounds this year, and we’re all very happy with that.”

Police who were patrolling the grounds were also happy.

Officer-in-charge of Kingaroy Police, Senior Sergeant Dave Tierney, told southburnett.com.au the event had been well-run and the crowd was very well-behaved.

Over the years, Wine and Food in the Park has had to contend with drought and cyclones.

On Saturday, unexpectedly hot weather in the morning led to a slightly slower-than-usual start but by mid-afternoon seating under the shade trees was at a premium as queues formed at both gates.

As usual, the patrons came from all over the South Burnett, Bundaberg, Brisbane, Toowoomba and in-between.

The festival again featured an all-local entertainment line-up with bands ranging from Mr Q to Muddy Flats, Soul Good and Skin ‘N’ Bone mixed with solo performers such as Natalie Fenton, Rowan Edwards and Amber Goldsmith in a packed eight-hour program.

Children weren’t forgotten either, with facepainting from Karla’s Carnival and amusements by Jen’s Party Hire.

Food and wine stallholders also reported a busy day’s trade.

Indian and Brazilian cuisine proved popular alongside old favourites such wood-fired pizzas and churros while South Burnett wineries showcased their latest vintages.

Organisers also had to send out for more bottled water to hand out to thirsty patrons.

“A number of community groups were also helping us out, including Lions, Rotary and the Kingaroy Netball Club, and we’re delighted to support them,” Dafyd said,

One initiative at this year’s festival was the introduction of Pimm’s at the cider bar, which proved so popular it was all gone by sunset.

Another was asking patrons to deposit their recyclable cans and bottles separately.

“We donated all the recyclables to the Kingaroy Scouts this year, and this should raise several hundred dollars for them,” Dafyd said.

“It’s good for the planet, too, and we were very impressed by the way most guests took this idea up.”

  • The 21st South Burnett Wine and Food In The Park Festival will be held at Memorial Park in Kingaroy on Saturday, March 14, 2020.

Kingaroy State High School’s young winemakers debuted their first vintage at this year’s festival … Year 7 students Riley Morgan and Laura Davey found an appreciative audience

Over at the festival’s cider bar, Amanda Ross from Bundaberg tried her hand at building a Pimms block stack, watched closely by friend Gareth James who ultimately won the contest

Natalie Fenton was one of nine local soloists and bands who provided a full day of music that had many in the crowd up and dancing as the sun went down

Kingaroy TAFE hospitality students Isabel Cristaldi, Jaidan Ball and Sandra Gibson gained hands-on practical experience managing the Cider Bar, where Pimm’s was the flavour of the day

Local soccer players Natalia Phillips-Petersen and Rahab Murray were a dazzling duo in their non-football outfits … but come March 23, they’ll be taking to the park for another 22-week season

Sgt Rod Gelderblom found it hard to resist a surprise proposal from ‘Dame Edna’ when she appeared in the park, complete with a bunch of gladioli

Clovely Estate has been regulars at the festival for 20 years … staff were happy to show off the winery’s latest award-winning vintages

Monster Blonde have been delighting festivalgoers for almost as long as Wine and Food has existed, and this year their Bubble Pirates drew lots of applause

Stefano and Sarah Radici from the South Burnett’s newest winery Nuova Scuola (‘new school’) showed off their latest vintages … the couple will be opening a retail outlet in Moffatdale in April

Kingaroy constables Rhys Golinski, Bethany Rogerson and Glenn Hytch were part of the team patrolling the event

The Queen also made an appearance at this year’s festival … she crowned Michelle Fenton, from Brisbane, much to the delight of Michelle’s sister, singer Natalie Fenton, from Nanango

Moffatdale Ridge Winery is another regular attendee at Wine and Food In The Park, and this year Geoff Kinsella was eager to show the latest award-winning vintage to passers-by

As the afternoon wore on, seating in the shade was quickly at a premium …


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