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Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Granite Belt community delivers stellar festival to a crowd of 60,000

Huge visitor numbers, fantastic entertainment, incredible fundraising efforts and a massive celebration of regional food and wine have the Granite Belt community asking – was this the best Apple & Grape yet?

It is estimated that around 60,000 people attended the festival over the weekend and amongst the crowd were Apple & Grape veterans, new visitors, food and wine lovers and many happy families.
Comments on social media highlighted the friendliness of the town and the tremendous community spirit that allows a town of 5,000 to host a crowd of 60,000.o
Nat Raccanello said “well done to the wonderful ambassadors and their committees who have worked tirelessly for months raising an amazing amount of money towards next times festival. 2014 was an amazing festival. You should be very proud. Everything was great. Well done.”
Rocky Locke said “great to hear the Stanthorpe Apple & Grape festival was a great success, I used to live in Stanthorpe many years ago, to go back as a visitor to a great festival & to link up with family & old friends is awesome, great job guys.”
Pauline Drayton said “It was a great weekend. Really felt like the festivals of years gone by. Well done to everyone.”
Such comments reflect the structure and line up of street entertainment and licensed venues on the street, with amazing talent at every turn or corner.
Festival Entertainment Director Rosey Harslett said “we worked really hard to bring back the street festival feeling and making sure there was great entertainment throughout the CBD.  We have had excellent feedback from people saying that there was so much spirit and energy, and I think this was largely due to the line-up organised by Dave Murray.”
The festival is made physically possible by a dedicated group of volunteers who work tirelessly over two years to bring the festival together, and made financially possible by the support of sponsors and the efforts of the festival ambassadors.
This year’s ambassadors raised a whopping $121,622 that will be put towards the 50th Anniversary festival in 2016, with Charity Ambassador Taylah Wantling individually raising $36,970.
Festival President Trevor Fitness said “this year’s festival ambassadors have done the Granite Belt community proud with the dollars raised the 2nd highest recorded.  This ensures that our 50th anniversary will be amazing.”
Weeroona Park was alive over the weekend with a diverse range of food and award winning Granite Belt wine, as well as the all new Seasonal Harvest Marquee.
Festival Marketing Director Sarah Reeves said “the Seasonal Harvest Marquee sold out of apples and grapes by 11am on Saturday and the food and wine appreciation sessions added a positive new element to the festival and a way for visitors and locals to learn more about the delicious produce of the Granite Belt.”
“The choice of food was outstanding and I heard many comments from visitors that they could not believe what a diverse and friendly place Stanthorpe is.”
“The food must have been loved, because a lot of the stallholders had to dash home on Saturday to replenish supplies,” Ms Reeves said.
Food cooking demonstrations were also a hit with both Masterchef’s Emma Dean and Better Home and Garden’s Fast Ed cooking up a storm using fresh seasonal produce.
Now that the party is over, organisers are now looking forward to 2016 and are keen to hear what people would like to see for the 50thAnniversary.  Comments can be posted to Facebook or Twitter, or emailed to
If you would like to be involved as a sponsor or volunteer, please visit for details.
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