Tasmania to wassail its way through winter

New Huon Valley festival to be the encore to Dark MOFO

Media release
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The Apple Shed - Home of Willie Smiths

The Apple Shed - Home of Willie Smiths

Huon Valley Mid-Winter Fest - part of Dark MOFO 2014
Huon Valley Mid-Winter Fest - part of Dark MOFO 2014


An encore addition to the successful Dark MOFO program will ensure the state is kept open for business in the depths of winter.

A new initiative, led by the crew at nationally-renowned organic cidery Willie Smiths, will put the spotlight on the Huon Valley through a celebration focussed on the humble apple.

"The festival will be based around the ancient tradition of wassailing, popular in the West Country, England," event organiser Sam Reid said.

"The purpose of wassailing is to awake the cider apple trees and to scare away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest of fruit in the Autumn. "This will be the uniting feature for the event and the valley and give rise to a celebration of the valley and its apple heritage."

Dark MOFO finishes on July 5 and the inaugural Huon Valley event, on Saturday, July 19, will be the Huon Encore to Dark MOFO.

"We want to awaken the Huon Valley during the middle of winter to clearly show that the Huon Valley is open for business year-round," said Mr Reid, who is also the co-owner of Willie Smiths.
"Many new and existing businesses need a boost over the long, cold winter and this can help.

"The excitement and sense of community that came with Dark MOFO last year proves that if we embark upon new initiatives that are fun and funky, they will be embraced by residents and tourists alike."

Mr Reid said a winter festival in July would sit perfectly in the middle of the two existing major festivals for the Valley - Taste of the Huon in March and November's Huon Show.

The festival will be based at The Apple Shed and surrounding properties.

It will feature a Winter Feast featuring local produce, storytelling, folk music, bonfires, Morris dancing, a Wassailing celebration (bringing life to the people and waking the dormant Apple Trees) and culminates with the Jack in the Green (a human tree) falling over at the end of the night.

"We are excited about bringing something new and different to our state and we really hope the general public, businesses and all levels of government get involved as we attempt to boost people's pride in the area and re-energise our community during a traditionally slow period".

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April 08th, 2014
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