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The largest Wassail in the Southern Hemisphere and the inaugural First Nations storytelling focus are just two elements helping to inject more than $1 million in the local economy this weekend.

The Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival kicks off this Friday July 14th at 5pm and Weekend passes have almost sold out already indicating that the fourth-annual event is significantly boosting tourism activity in the region during the traditionally quiet winter period.

“We have less than 30 weekend passes left for sale and we’re expecting over 15,000 people will enjoy our unique three-day festival.” Festival Director Sam Reid said.

The festival which is based around the wassail on the Saturday night, is a tradition from the West Country in England and is said to wake-up the dormant apple trees and ward-off evil spirits to encourage a bumper harvest.

“Our event is quirky and colourful and we are so thrilled that people are embracing what we put together to come out in the cold and dark and help make this event such a success when just a few years ago there was nothing like this available.

“I’m stoked to see the weekend passes selling so well and it tells me that people really appreciate the quality and diversity of programming we have over the 3 days.”

Mr Reid said it was estimated the influx of tourists and visitors to the event would inject around $1 million into the local economy.

“Many ticket-holders are repeat visitors to Tasmania and the Huon Valley, and tell us how much they love this area and are happy to spend money on great Tasmanian food, wine and of course cider from the local producers on offer at the festival,” Mr Reid said.

“To ensure on-going success, each year we have invested more into improving the event in terms of entertainment, logistics and facilities such as staging and audio to give everyone the best opportunity to hear and see the awesome array of performers we have brought together.”

Festival highlights …

Friday Night, July 14th – Welcome and Burning Mid-Winter Man ceremony, with stilt walking storytellers “The Roaming Trees”, fire dancing troupe the “Hobart Fireflies” and the inaugural Tasmanian Aboriginal storytelling and First Nations artists featuring singer-songwriter Frank Yamma and acclaimed Tasmanian Aboriginal “folktronica” artist Denni Proctor. And to get you Headlining the Blundstone Stage is Melbourne-based Celt folk-punk band The Ramshackle Army.

Saturday, July 15th: the largest Wassail procession in the Southern Hemisphere led by the Jolley Hatters Morris dancers, a huge bonfire, a share of $1800 in prize money on offer for the best dressed pagan offering and the second-annual Story-tellers Cup with $400 in prize money on offer.

Sunday July 16th: Family fun with children’s storytelling, kids art & craft activities, costume prizes and more great live, local music.

We couldn’t do this without the support of Events Tas, Alfred Gough Handcrafted Pastries, Blundstone Boots and The Huon Valley Council.

For the full program go to: http://www.huonvalleymidwinterfest.com.au/program/

http://www.huonvalleymidwinterfest.com.au/
Krystal Cox Festival Manager Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival