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Friday 3 July 2015

Head for the Huon Valley for a riotous feast of fun

If you like dressing up in traditional English costumes, dancing around apple trees, massive bonfires and enjoying fine Tasmanian food, wine and ciders than the Huon Valley Mid-WinterFest should be right up your alley. 

Back for a second year after a triumphant launch in 2014 saw thousands of people descend on the far south of Tasmania, the festival has been extended from two days to three with more food, more entertainment and more wassailing. 

What's wassailing you ask? Well it means to dance and scare the err, sap, out of the cider trees and encourage the sun to return. It's just one of the attraction of the festival, which will run from Friday, July 17, to Sunday, July 19 at The Apple Shed, the Willie Smith's cider facility at Grove, 30 minutes from Hobart. 

There will be lots of cider, some of Tasmania's best artisan produce, fires, Maypole and Morris dancing performances,several bands and a procession. 

Organiser Sam Reid says his committee has learned a lot from last year's debut event with a Friday night element added - focusing more attention on the folk music program. 

An additional dining tent will give patrons more flexibility and choice, while parking will also be provided on-site. 

Last year many locals got into the spirit of the event, joining in the pagan-themed face painting and donning top hats. 

"The tradition dates back to the 1500s when dancers in the Welsh borders used to dress up and cover their faces so neighbours wouldn’t recognise them as they begged for money on the streets,'' Reid says. 

Visitors are promised a lot of fun.

"If you haven’t sung to an apple tree whilst banging pots and pans by firelight lately, then now is your chance to head to the Huon Valley to celebrate the region's apple-picking history and join in the ages-old tradition of wassailing – basically scaring nasties out of the orchard’s trees to ensure a bumper autumn crop," Reid says.

The three headline acts are the Davidson Brothers, Gypsy Dub Soundsystem and Mic Conway's National Junk Band, while food providers include Flamecake, Grandvewe Cheeses, Laziko Kebabs, Tasman Quartermasters, Nicholls Rivulet Organic Farm, Cygneture Chocolates, Lady Hester Donuts and Mountain Pepper Pizza.

Ciders will be from Willie Smith's and Red Brick Road, wines from locals Home Hill and Two Bud Spur and beers from Moo Brew.  

There will be a burning wicker man ceremony on the Friday night and a story-telling tent throughout the Dark Mofo-linked event. Tickets start from $12. 

For details visit the website:

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