15 February 2024

Piece of Paradise awaits: Tumbarumba's award-winning festival of food, wine and frolic

| Edwina Mason
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festival crowd

Tumbafest recently claimed gold for the second consecutive year in the Festival and Events category of the 2023 NSW Tourism Awards. Photos: Tumbafest/Facebook.

If you want to run to paradise, head to the eastern foothills of the Snowy Mountains to catch The Choirboys at Tumbafest this month.

The 27th anniversary of the award-winning food, wine and music festival kicks off on the weekend of Saturday, 24 February, with the popular Australian hard-rock band – whose 1987 single Run to Paradise remains their biggest commercial success – headlining a packed program on the main stage.

Tumbafest has leapt from modest origins when, on a hot January afternoon in 1997, a small group of friends was enjoying a drop of the local product when one bemoaned the multitude of festivals springing up everywhere, complete with the showcase of local wines.

As the wine continued to flow, the idea of Tumbafest was born – to stage a festival in Tumbarumba that would celebrate the cool-climate wines and fruits, provide a variety of food sourced locally, and throw in some music for good measure.

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This year, Snowy Valleys band Wild Tracks, Albury’s Red Belly Black, two-time Tamworth Star Maker talent quest finalist, Wagga’s Nathan Lamont, Jess Crossman, Jack Biilmann and The Black Tide, local favourites The Mighty Yak and Bloom featuring among the musical line-up.

It’s a return visit to Tumbarumba for popular duo The Wolfe Brothers, who recently clinched three coveted Golden Guitars at Tamworth’s national country music festival, walking away with Album of the Year (”Livin’ the Dream”) as well as awards for Group or Duo of the Year and Vocal Collaboration of the Year.

Amid the sounds, the Creekside event is all about experiencing the fruits of the region, with visitors able to partake of locally produced cool-climate wines including sparkling, pinot gris, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay, and for lovers of a good red, pinot noir, tempranillo and merlot.

There’s also the region’s emerging range of ciders, beer and spirits, its tantalising produce and cuisine.

plastic ducks in a creek

One of Tumbafest’s highlight events is the duck racing.

The festival also showcases the region’s unique handicrafts in a market-style atmosphere that offers everything from leather and metalwork to clothing, artwork and handmade jewellery.

A festival highlight is the duck racing, whereby hundreds of coloured rubber ducks are thrown into the water “racing” against each other as they course down Tumbarumba Creek, with spectators lining the banks urging “their” ducks on.

Each duck is numbered and sold off to event attendees as a fundraiser for the Tumbarumba Rugby League Football Club – last year they were sold out before the first race even started on Saturday, so best get in quick!

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Because it’s a family-friendly festival, a Kids Corner, free for children under the age of 12, offers activities ranging from face painting and dress-ups to puppet shows, colouring in and lawn games. There’s even a sandpit for hours of fun.

Rides and amusements are for all ages at an additional cost.

Festival gates open at 10 am on Saturday, 24 February, and close at 6:30 pm on Sunday, 25 February.

Tickets are available online and at the gate (EFTPOS only), with general admission weekend tickets at $100 and day tickets $80. Pensioner discounts are offered and entry is free for festival-goers aged 17 and under.

Original Article published by Edwina Mason on About Regional.

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