Cider sales double

In its second year the festival that celebrates apples, cider and Batlow itself, defied the cold and dull conditions and brought the apple producing town to life.

Long Oktoberfest style trestle tables stretched down the main street with cider producers, food outlets and many local stalls lining the edges of the road.

Organisers estimate around 5500 people visited Batlow on Saturday with many rugged up and settling in to stay the day, whilst others were more content to have a cider and a look around before yielding to the cold and heading home.

The man behind Ciderfest, Harald Tietze, started last year’s event with a $50 donation, plenty of enthusiasm and community support.

The growth of the festival saw cider sales double this year with local cider producers The Apple Thief and Batlow Premium Cider trading along side Orange cider producers Small Acres Cyder and all reporting fantastic sales on the day.

Chair of Ciderfest, Ray Billing, said the day was nothing short of fantastic.

“Ciderfest was so busy this year, it was far more than we expected,” Mr Billing said. “For a cool start to the day and the weather that came before and after Saturday, we were lucky for the day to go so well.

“We were very well supported. The street was so packed at one stage that next year we will increase the venue space.”

The Wacky Apple Tarts were colourfully dressed and added to the celebratory mood of the crowd. Other locals were dressed in bright maiden outfits and in crazy hats, inspiring the organisers to think about adding costume prizes next year.

Mr Billing said visitors from around the Riverina and Canberra joined locals for a fun day out.

With plenty of delicious food stalls, crisp cider by the boxful and a cheery crowd, the organising committee couldn’t have been more exhilarated.

“The town was buzzing all weekend,” Mr Billing said. “Being so well supported by Canberra shows us that people are prepared to travel for a good day out. They are not too far away in terms of our tourist trade.

“By having free entry it encourages people with limited time to drop in for as long as they have. The motel was full and was turning people away so Tumut benefitted as well.”

An after party at the RSL Club also went off without a hitch and gave the organisers an opportunity to recognise and thank their major sponsors.

“It was also a chance for the two local cider companies to talk and relate on a social basis, which I’m sure will help their association to grow into the future,” Mr Billing said. “It was an all round success, the conference, Ciderfest and the weekend as a whole for the town.”

Friday’s Cider Conference revolved around adding value to the apple crop. A perfect example was in action on Saturday, with 1000 apple skins needed to be peeled for cancer research.

“We received a request for 100 apple skins from a woman conducting a research project,” Mr Billing said. “She is conducting a research project on Braeburn Apple skins and the medical benefits in cancer treatment. Local growers, Crystal Spring Orchards, donated the apples and the Wacky Apple Tarts got the slinky apple machine going and gave away the apples so the skins could be shipped to Sydney.

“That is value adding for you alright.”

More photos in Friday’s edition