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Wednesday 2 March 2016

Back again - Australia's most idiosyncratic festival

It has been described as one of Australia's few unique festivals; a blend of Pagan rituals, food, cider and dance that draws thousands deep into Tasmania's south each winter. 

For the third year running, the Huon Valley Mid-Winter Fest will bring warmth and celebration to the Huon Valley, Tasmania’s ‘apple valley’, in a three-day Pagan-inspired celebration of the apple history of the region. 

To be held at the Willie Smith's Apple Shed from July 15-17, the festival draws on the traditions from the cider producing regions of south-west England and will beckon visitors from near and far with a blend of local food, wine, beer and, of course, cider, warming bonfires, folk music and dance. 

The festival will kick off on the night of Friday, July 15, with Welcome @ Burning Man, when a wooden effigy over 6-metres high will be burned to open the festival and welcome attendees.

The main event takes place on the Saturday night in a salute to the traditional ‘12th night’
festivals where the ancient ‘wassail’ ritual was intended to wake up the dormant apple trees, scare away the evil spirits and ensure an abundant cider apple harvest for the coming season. 

The Australian Morris Dancers; a collection of over 40 Morris Dancers, representing groups from around the nation, will lead the wassail celebrations and set the tone for the evening. 

The 2016 program is packed with folk music artists including confirmed headline acts; Annie Lee from the Kransky Sisters and psychedelic, gypsy, prog-rock band, Ungus Ungus Ungus.

Prizes are offered for the best dressed at the event and other festival highlights include a bonfire on Saturday night, traditional story telling and workshops, street theatre and art and craft stalls. 

For the first time, dedicated buses will be running from Geeveston and Cygnet to the festival site at Grove.

Organised by Willie Smith's Organic Cider, the festival is backed by Dark MOFO, Events Tasmania and the Huon Valley Council.

A limited number of first release tickets for the 2016 Huon Valley Mid-Winter Fest are on sale now and cost $10 per person on Friday, $20 per person on Saturday and $5 per person on Sunday. 

A weekend ticket which allows access across all three days is also available for $35 per person. 

For more information and to purchase tickets visit

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