Beginnings - the 1954 Apple blossom festival
The Apple & Grape Festival came to be in 1966, renamed from The Apple Blossom Festival, which itself was born from the Back to Stanthorpe Week celebrations of 1954. The event had run its course by the mid 1960′s and hence a superstar was born!
In 1965, the Apple Blossom Festival was not held due to insufficient public support. Representatives of the DSGC and Chamber of Commerce and Industry saw an opportunity for a new event, to be combined with the successful “Eat an Apple Week” campaign and a committee was formed under the leadership of Max McMahon to plan the event.
The success of the 1966 Apple Harvest Festival which included a Grand Ball, Street Procession, Athletics Carnival & Sports, tours of orchards, vineyards & packing sheds encouraged the committee to plan a biennial event.
Onwards… The Apple & Grape Harvest Festival
In the meantime, a new name the Apple & Grape Harvest Festival was adopted to include more of the fruits grown on the Granite Belt.
Events at the 1968 Apple & Grape Festival included the Miss Delicious Quest, grand ball and raceday, a ten-mile race from Amiens to Stanthorpe, and a Festival Art Show. Between 5000 and 6000 people crammed a quarter mile strip of Stanthorpe’s main street for the street carnival. Mr Gordon Chalk, Deputy Premier of Queensland, described the Festival’s success as indicative of the high appreciation of people for the district.
Queensland Q150 Celebrations… 2009
As part of the Queensland Q150 celebrations in 2009, celebrating the State’s 150th birthday, the Stanthorpe Apple & Grape Harvest Festival was voted one of Queensland’s favourite iconic events.
To celebrate Q150, Queensland Museum Development Officers worked with regional museums around the state to develop displays capturing the history and importance of community festivals.
The Stanthorpe Museum display about the Apple & Grape Harvest Festival is featured on the Collecting Queensland Festivals site by the Queensland Museum.