Event Preview: Huon Valley Mid Winter Festival

Taking place July 13-15, the festival features feasting, cider, fire and folklore . It's the only time and place you can shout at trees and not be looked upon with disdain by your peers.

If you ever needed evidence that multicultural celebration is alive and well in Tasmania, look no further than the Huon Valley Mid Winter Festival. The three day festival is held at The Apple Shed and draws on the traditions of cider producing regions in south west England. There's a whole host of interesting things set to go down, and we're hyped already!



The Welcome Ceremony is a curious culmination of everything the festival encompasses. This year's Welcome Ceremony is presented in tandem with the team from Nayri Niara Good Spirit Festival to unite Aboriginal traditions with contemporary innovations for optimistic action and healing. Activities at the ceremony include sand circle dancing, live music, feasting, drinking and more - all of which will take place in front of a 15 metre tall Burning Man effigy, which is set ablaze to collectively let go of negative energy and make way for the new.

This year's performers include pirate folk/punk band 8FootFelix,  singers of the songs of Russian thieves VulgarGrad and Medusa's Wake with their inimitably riotous gypsy punk. Here's a little look at the performances from last year:



One of the main focuses of the festival is the apple trees of the region. Wassailing is an old tradition that involves singing, shouting and making as much noise as possible in front of apple trees to scare away any nasty spirits that may prevent a good harvest from the tree's next crop.

While wassailing ceremonies vary, the core concept is always the same; a Wassail King and Queen lead a song or processional tune from one orchard to the next, with the Queen offering a toast to each apple tree. You can read more about the tradition here, and watch the ceremony in action below:



On Saturday 14th July, the festival will pay heed to the times of yore when storytelling was an art, everyone had a story to tell, and people gathered to share their stories.

There's over $800 in prizes to be won, but the greatest prize in the handcrafted Huon pine Storyteller's Cup which is presented to the winner of the storytelling competition. You can get more deets on the competition here.



While the rest of the festival can be a bit much for the youngsters, the last day is built for family fun. There's heaps of awesome stuff set up for kids, like performances from The Vegetable Plot, a kid's wassail ceremony, maypole dancing and flower crown workshops. Here's a fun clip from The Vegetable Plot.

There's just too much going on to list it all here, but if you're heading to the festival, you should make sure you go in an awesome costume, because there's prizes for men, women and families with the best costumes!