Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival
Each year, thousands of Tasmanians and interstate visitors descend on Ranelagh in Tassie’s picturesque Huon Valley for three days of roaring bonfires, fresh local produce, paganism and cracking live music.
Now in its sixth year, Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival kicks off on Friday July 12 with an Indigenous welcoming ceremony to collectively let go of negative energy. It culminates in the burning of a two-storey effigy dubbed “Big Willie”.
Created and run by local cider-maker Willie Smith’s, the festival celebrates the region’s long apple-growing history. And following a giant bonfire on Saturday, festivalgoers are invited to partake in the old English pagan-style ritual “wassailing”, intended to ensure a bumper apple crop. Led by traditional Morris folk dancers, it involves shooing evil spirits with shotguns, banging pots and pans, singing to awaken the apple trees and blessing them with cider from the previous year’s harvest.
Meanwhile, the Mid-Winter Banquet – a fire-fuelled long lunch catered by local producers – and an epic storytelling event are also scheduled for Saturday. Plus, there’s an eclectic line-up of folk music across the weekend – over three stages – and a dedicated feasting tent where you can fuel up on the best of the Huon Valley’s food and drink.
There’s no on-site camping but glamping can be organised via the Tasmanian Glamping Co, and Huon Valley Caravan Park is just 1.5 kilometres from the festival site. There’s also a range of local farms, cottages, B’n’Bs and more to accommodate out-of-towners.
Weekend passes are $84.81, and single-day passes start from $16.83.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Willie Smith’s Cider.