The region’s biggest festival, Batlow’s CiderFest, will introduce two new events to complement the wildly-popular street-themed program celebrating all things cider.
The third Saturday in May has become synonymous with the CiderFest, drawing thousands from near and far sampling food, drink and entertainment in the apple town’s main street.
This year sees the annual annual Cider Industry Conference – traditionally held the day before CiderFest – on the move.
Late last year organisers of CiderFest agreed to hand-over the running of the Cider Industry Conference to the peak industry body, Cider Australia. The agreement included a commitment to see the conference rotate around the key cider producing states. This year the conference will be held in Hobart, Tasmania in early June.
The release of the conference to Cider Australia has led the Batlow CiderFest committee to explore opportunities for new events to add to our great festival, festival co-founder and chairman Ray Billing said.
“We are very excited to announce that this year will see the addition of a number of new events to compliment the Saturday street festival,” he said.
“The fun begins on Friday, May 17, with two new events; the Back to Nature Conference at the Batlow Bowling Club and “Craft Cider – Taste and Learn plus InCiders Session” at the Batlow RSL Club.
“Saturday will see all the usual excitement of the Street Festival.
“This year the great new activities continue into Sunday with ‘Orchard and Cidery Tours’ and a ‘Dowsing workshop with Harald Tietze’. secure your places with our Ticketing partner (https://www.ticketebo.com.au/batlowciderfest).
The festival has grown dramatically since launching in 2012, Mr Billing said, in part due to the fantastic support of volunteers, sponsors and financial assistance from the Destination NSW Regional Flagship Events Program.
“As we enter a third and final year of triennial funding from Destination NSW and look to move the festival towards long-term financial sustainability (independent of external grants), we need to ensure that our various income sources are secure and meet the significant costs of holding an event like the Batlow CiderFest,” Mr Billing said.
With this in mind, the 2019 street festival entry fees have been set at $15 (cash only) at the gate for adults (over 18 years), $10 (cash only) for Australian Government Concession card holders and free for under 18 years of age.
Festival-goers can book online at $12.50 for adults or $10 for concession and have a quicker entry into the event. Booking details for the Saturday street event along with the activities on the Friday and Sunday are on the festival’s website.
“Volunteers are the life blood of the event and to recognise this all volunteers will have free entry and be given special consideration and concessions,” Mr Billing said.
“If you are interested in volunteering or belong to a community group that would like to volunteer please contact us. Also, if you are interested in busking or have an act/performance you are welcome to contact us.
To find out more information or contact details visit the new website at www.batlowciderfest.com.au.
The festival also has a Facebook page: (https://www.facebook.com/CiderfestBatlow/).
Industry conference on the move
Australia’s cider industry body Cider Australia will host the eighth national cider conference next June.
AusCider 2019 will be the largest ever meeting of cider professionals in Australia and the first event to be held outside of Batlow where the conference was inaugurated seven years ago.
President of Cider Australia and co-founder of Willie Smith’s Cider Makers, Sam Reid, said the craft cider category was continuing to grow and the time had come to transition the conference to the industry body.
As well as ensuring that the conference will continue to meet the needs of the many producers around Australia, it will also enable broader engagement with the Australian cider community as it is hosted around the country.
“The conference’s founding organisation, the Batlow CiderFest, has done an amazing job running the Batlow Cider Industry Conference for the past seven years, and I commend their foresight and commitment to cider industry development,” Mr Reid said.
Mr Reid acknowledged the extensive support provided to the conference by the NSW Department of Primary Industries since 2013 which has enabled the event to expand to its current stature.
“Cider Australia is pleased it can take the event to other major cider centres as this will allow more people to attend and build networks in Australia and internationally. It will also highlight the research and investments being undertaken in cider regions across Australia, Mr Reid said.
Ray Billing, Batlow CiderFest chairman said: “Batlow CiderFest supports Cider Australia taking on management of the conference in 2019 as it shows our initiative was worthwhile and has met the cider industry’s need for education and technical development.
“The agreement will allow the Batlow CiderFest to have a continued partnership with Cider Australia and help promote the event Australia-wide.
“Their support will allow our team to explore other cider related activities to enhance the annual Batlow CiderFest and see the conference return to the region every five years. The Batlow CiderFest is held on the third Saturday of May and is a huge drawcard for tourism in the region,” said Mr Billing.
Full details on AusCider 2019 will be announced in the coming months.