From Apple & Grape President, Greg Thouard
The grand parade at the 2016 Apple & Grape Harvest Festival will bring back special memories for many of the past Queens and Ambassadors. There is a plan in place to invite all of the winning Apple Blossom and Apple & Grape Queens and Charity Queens (later changed to Young Ambassadors and Fundraising Ambassador) to the festival to help celebrate its 50th Anniversary. This special recognition of past queens and ambassadors will take pride of place in the grand parade where it is planned they will all ride in convertibles or open cars.
Over the life of both festivals there has been approximately 350 entrants in the quest who worked hard with their sponsors and committees to raise much needed funds to promote and provide a free festival. In the early days, the winners proudly accepted the title of Miss Delicious (Festival Queen) and Miss Muscatel (Charity Queen), both titles reflecting the apple and the grape for which the festival is famous.
Along the way all of the entrants found the Granite Belt community very supportive and all-up it is estimated that approximately $1 million has been raised, all by volunteers to help promote the district and its produce through a harvest celebration. The festival attendance has grown from a couple of thousand in the early days to 80,000 in its heyday and it is expected that the economic boost to the district from the upcoming 10-day celebration will be in the vicinity of $7.5 million. These numbers highlight the important role the queens and ambassadors play in raising funds to provide the entertainment that attracts visitors who spend money.
Led by festival committee volunteers Judy Blank and Pat Bruce with the support of Director Karol Pasin, invitations are being prepared to send to all of the past winning ambassadors. Sadly one has passed away and her memory will be reflected during the grand parade.
The inclusion of the past queens and ambassadors will add to the colour of the grand parade of flags and with the many floats and bands participating it will become history as one of the best festival parades. A list of past ambassadors and queens is available on our website.
For information about the festival visit www.appleandgrape.org, follow it on Facebook and Twitter. Additionalinformation or enrolling for volunteer services can be done by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 4681 4111.