September 23, 2019
The South Burnett’s popular Wine and Food In The Park festival in Kingaroy will not be held next year.
Instead, the autumn event will return in 2021 with an updated and expanded format that will have a much greater focus on food, and possibly a different name.
Wine and Food In The Park was established by organisers, South Burnett Events, in 1999 to celebrate the region’s then-new wine industry.
Wine and Food In The Park is the not-for-profit community group’s most long-lived event and the festival has run every March except for 2013, when it had to be cancelled due to floods.
At the group’s Annual General Meeting last Thursday, organisers said in the past two decades there had been significant changes in how Australians regard wine.
“When the wine industry started in the South Burnett this area was a ‘beer and Bundy’ region and early operators had to work very hard to persuade people to even try wine,” president Dafyd Martindale said.
“But fast forward 20 years and wine is now the most common beverage in Australia, with beer and cider running second and spirits and liqueurs a distant third.
“In addition, the quality of local wines has improved dramatically.
“South Burnett wines now regularly win medals in State and national competitions because what we produce now is equal to the best in Australia.
“So we no longer need to promote wines so strongly, and it’s time to refresh the concept.”
Mr Martindale said reconfiguring the event was a big task and the committee felt it would be best to do this over 18 months.
As a result, the South Burnett Events committee decided not to hold the festival next year.
Wine and Food In The Park usually costs an average of $50,000 a year to stage and the bulk of this money is passed directly back to local community groups and businesses.
“While we’re excited about re-imagining this festival for a new generation of festival-goers, we regret that many community groups see Wine and Food In The Park as an important annual fundraiser. This also applies to the local suppliers we hire from.
“But we assure you, the festival will be returning with a bright new look and focus in 2021.”
[DISCLOSURE: Dafyd Martindale is also CEO of southburnett.com.au]