Someone at Batlow CiderFest must be charmed. It poured with rain all of Friday night with clouds threatening to dampen the festivities throughout Saturday morning, but the weather held off and the event was allowed to shine.
Organisers said they will have exact numbers after they finish packing up and tallying their successes, but suffice to say thousands came from Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, and all over regional Australia for what is fast becoming one of country NSW’s stand-out events.
One of the brains behind the operation, Harald Tietze, said he wasn’t excited – “we’re excidered! And when people start drinking today, there may be cider-ffects!
“It’s amazing [how far the festival has come], the whole town is behind us,” he added.
“We have so many volunteers. We now have beer and wine, and next year we’re hoping to have spiced apple schnapps – the schnapps will be so good for you that medicare should pay for it!”
The festival, now in its sixth year, offered tastings of over 30 ciders from 12 boutique breweries, as well as other produce and goods the region has to offer.
Live entertainment was provided by the likes of Riley Catherall, the String Family, and of course Tumbarumba Pipes and Drums.
Those who reserved some energy for after the sun went down were well rewarded, with a lively afterparty at the Batlow RSL soundtracked by the Spindrift Saga.
Saturday was the culmination of months of hard work from Harald Tietze, Ray Billing, and many, many others – with a special shoutout due to Chris Horsley for creating the Apple Tarts’ striking costumes.
However, Harald said the sky’s the limit for what the future of CiderFest, and apple tourism in Batlow, could hold.
“We need more products made from apples that you can only get from Batlow,” he said.
“We’re looking at apple beauty products, moisturisers, lipsticks, things like that. There is a town in Austria, called Dürnstein, where they grow apricots, and in this town you can buy 40 different kinds of apricot products. We’re going to do that for Batlow and apples.”
Apple-lovers clearly have faith in Harald and Ray’s vision – local accommodation is booked out for the CiderFest weekend until 2021.