The last winter festival on the Tasmanian calendar is the Huon Valley Mid Winter Fest. It begins on Friday 12th of July and runs for the weekend until Sunday 14th of July over the darkest nights of the year.
As they say in the classics, winter is here.
The Huon Valley is approximately 40 minutes drive from Hobart Town. It has long been the apple heartland of Tasmania, which is often referred to as the Apple Isle.
What is Huon Valley Mid Winter Fest about?
The Huon Valley Mid Winter Fest celebrates the apple tree in a distinctly pagan way.
“OUR VALLEY IS PRETTY COLD AND WET IN– huonvalleymidwinterfest.com.au
THE DEAD OF WINTER. IT’S FAR AWAY. IT’S DARK.
YET THOUSANDS COME TO GET WILD, WASSAIL
AND BURN A TWO STOREY WICKER MAN.
COME GET LOST AND FOUND.”
The basic premise of the mid winter festival is to get a little ‘wild’ and scare off spirits to make for a productive apple harvest.
Wild = Wassailing– Escape Valve
The art of wassailing is to make as much noise as you can through singing, chanting, yelling, drumming, banging… whatever, to whisk the evil spirits away from the apple trees. If you can do that, the Huon Valley Mid Winter Fest is for you! Before you ask, you can have a drink in your hand as refreshment.
Due to the need for expansion (lots of people want to wassail!!) the Huon Valley Mid Winter Fest has moved from the Willie Smith Apple Shed at Grove, down the road to the Ranelagh Showgrounds (about 5 minutes away, tops). All the more room for pagan style merriment, I say.
What do we do at the Festival?
Over the three days of the festival you’ll get to wassail, be kept warm by bonfires, feast on Tasmanian produce, down a beverage or three; be it a warming mulled cider or wine or a good Tassie beer, win best dressed if you dress up in tatters (pagan costume), listen to some quality storytelling and dance to a fair collection of folk music.
Friday kicks off at 5pm (it will be dark and winterish by then) with an Aboriginal welcome ceremony, and then later the lighting and burning of the wicker man, Big Willie!
Saturday is more sedate (during the daylight hours), beginning at 2pm, to give you time to warm your cockles with food and drink, ready for the evening time wassail and bonfire.
Sunday is family day, focused on activities for the halflings (kiddies). Kids under 16 get in free, but you’ll still need to get them a ticket.
For more information and tickets, go to huonvalleymidwinterfest.com.au