With the annual general meeting of the Apple & Grape Harvest Festival committee being held on 13 September, current Festival President Greg Thouard has issued an invitation for the future generations to become involved now. “For the Festival to survive and deliver at no less than its existing level, it will be the younger to middle age people of today who will make this happen”.
Following on from the success of the 50th Anniversary celebrations held in 2016 the new committee will have to think about how to keep the momentum going by introducing new ideas. When asked about the look of future festivals, Mr Thouard hinted at broad changes that will occur over a period of festivals. The running of a modern day festival in street carnival style is heavily legislated and the cost of insurance, traffic management, security, amenities, street cleaning, performers, sound and stages has increased significantly over time but the level of grants, sponsorship and fundraising for these areas has shown a decrease. Fortunately Heritage Bank was able to help the 2016 street carnival with a large cash contribution to help alleviate some of the street carnival costs.
The very popular multicultural carnival saw the first of its changes in 2016 and the main change was the introduction of a cover charge. “This was necessary to help defray some of the $125,000 cost of putting on this 2-day event”. The Weeroona Park area will most likely grow into centre-stage for future festivals and without doubt a cover charge will remain with moderate increase to cover cost of production. “This is not the news that everybody wants to hear but the festival needs to achieve financial sustainability to ensure its longevity”.
The festival remains a popular event in Queensland and following it being announced as a Queensland Icon in 2010 by the Queensland Government, the committee of volunteers work very hard to introduce new ideas to keep the festival vibrant and a must-see event. In 2016, over its ten days, the festival attracted 109,000 people across all events, reinforcing that the committee is achieving its goals. “Tourism visitation is a prime focus but additionally, the festival provides a lift in community well-being with the festival being the largest back to Stanthorpe celebration and it provides a large economic stimulus to local businesses and those in surrounding regions”.
While all positions are declared vacant at the Annual General Meeting there has been an indication from a large number of previous Directors to return for the 2018 festival and there will be strong support to re-elect these Directors. Some new positions have been created and some Directors have retired after providing valuable community service. Positions available for nomination are:
• 2nd Vice-President who is interested in taking on the role of President for the 2020 festival
• Grants & Sponsorship
• Gala Ball
• Street Events
• Secretary - 2 positions on a shared duty basis
• Young Ambassadors
• Marketing & Promotion
• Youth Activities
All members of the community are welcome to attend the annual general meeting but if a person wishes to be entitled to vote at the meeting or to nominate for a position they must be a member and membership can be completed at the meeting for a $5.50 subscription fee. The Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday 13 September 2016 at The Vines Motel Conference Room commencing at 6.15pm