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Monday 10 July 2017

Three days of fun and cider at the Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival

What started off as a light-hearted idea four years ago has morphed into one of the biggest festivals in Tasmania. 

An action-packed weekend is planned for the three-day Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival at Willie Smith's Cider from Friday to Sunday. 

The largest wassail in the Southern Hemisphere and the inaugural First Nations storytelling event are just two key elements expected to attract over 15,000 people to the festival. 

The wassail, to be held on 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.

"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.

"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 three days."

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

"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 include:  

Friday, July 14: Welcome and Burning Mid-Winter Man ceremony, with stilt-walking storytellers, a fire-dancing troupe and the inaugural Tasmanian Aboriginal storytelling and First Nations artists featuring singer-songwriter Frank Yamma, along with Melbourne-based Celt folk-punk band The Ramshackle Army.

Saturday, July 15: 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 and the second annual Storytellers Cup with $400 in prize money on offer.

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

There will be a range of local ciders, foods, wines and beers on sale on all three days, including Gourmet Farmer Matthew Evans' Fat Pig Farm food truck, Home Hill Wines, Lady Hester Donuts, Mountain Pepper Pizza, the Cake Combi, Coal River Farm and Tasmanian Quartermasters.  

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