Who says down south is only for summer? Cabin Fever, a winter celebration of Margaret River, makes a compelling argument that the region’s wineries and restaurants have plenty to offer locals and visitors during the colder months.

The inaugural festival in 2017 was a resounding success; the 6500 attendees far surpassed the 2500 anticipated by organisers. This year’s festival (July 13 to 22), features 41 events throughout the region, from Busselton to Margaret River.

“We really wanted to drive business, entice visitors to the region and get the locals out of hibernation,” says festival director Erin Molloy. “We had a lot more attendees than expected last year and it was great to see people supporting a WA homegrown event.”

Collaborations are a key feature of this year’s festival and have resulted in some one-off, special events.

“We want to make sure all the businesses down here have the opportunity to do well,” says Molloy. “Wherever we can, we’re trying to get businesses to work together to create different events, so they’re all teaming up where they wouldn’t normally.”

This year Mini has come on board as a partner and is offering a complimentary Designated Driver transport service to early ticket purchasers at selected events.

So far, 31 events have already been announced, and there are 10 more to come. Here’s Broadsheet’s top-five picks.

Night of the Living Red – Friday July 13, $145
Celebrating the festival’s opening night on Friday July 13, this appropriately themed dinner at Arimia Winery will offer winter fare cooked over flames, and wild-fermented wines.

Cheese Toastie Battle – Sunday July 15, $20
Five of the region’s top chefs will battle it out in a comfort-food fight. Attendees will get to sample them all, washed down with local wine, beer and spirits.

Dark Matters at Eagle Bay Brewing Co – Friday July 13, $60
This collaboration teams two coffee roasters – Cape Effect and Twin Peaks – with local distillers and brewers for a night of experimental coffee brews, cocktails and coffee beer. Don’t expect to get much sleep that night.

The Last Supper at Cherubino – Saturday July 21, $180
A shared-plate feast of lamb, beef, duck and fish paired with Larry Cherubino wines, and a “cheese feasting bar” to finish.

Fondue by the Fire – Saturday and Sunday both weekends
This freebie was one of the most popular events last year. Spend an afternoon by the fire at Howard Park enjoying wine and fondue.

Cabin Fever is on from July 13 to 22. Events will be taking place at various venues across the Margaret River Region. Program details and tickets are available here.