Hundreds of people with saddles around their neck sipping wine under clear blue skies – Vintage Festival was truly back from the dead.
The sold out event, which was held in Griffith on Saturday after more than a decade’s absence, introduced a new generation to the region’s iconic post-harvest celebration.
Carrah Lymer, festival organiser, said, “back in the day, we had real leather lanyards and saddles to hold real glasses for the wine”.
In today’s heavily regulated times, Ms Lymer was able to at least re-create the memory of those heady days with rubber and plastic replicas.
“Nobody wanted to leave at the end of the day.”
“We got some great feedback on the Sunday, which is really promising. I think everyone really enjoyed it,” Ms Lymer said.
The 800-plus crowd was predominately made up of those aged 18-35, who would have never attended a Vintage Festival in their lives.
There was also a generous smattering of older patrons who remembered attending a somewhat different festival in the 1980s and 1990s.
Deputy mayor Doug Curran said that you can never replicate those glory days, when it was a free-for-all.
But he said he had a fantastic time at Saturday’s event, and was also happy that it went by largely incident free.
“I didn’t see any trouble at all on the day,” he said.
A number of children were also in attendance at the event, having gained free entry when accompanied by an adult.
The festival revelers who spoke to Area News commented that last Saturday was more family-friendly than events of the past, when there could be a fair bit of bad behaviour.
Drink driving, for example, was thought to be common in the 1980s, but random breath testing stations in 2017 strategically located throughout the weekend encouraged people to leave the car at home.
Joanne Tarbit, 41, said she’s just young enough to have missed out on being able to attend previous Vintage Festivals. But she said was more than impressed with how things unfolded on Saturday.
“It was fabulous, such a beautiful festival.”
“I would love to see it expanded in the future. If they shift the tents out a bit, I reckon they could fit even more people in,” she said.
Ms Tarbit said one of the great things about the festival is the opportunity to sample some of the more uncommon wines from the region you don’t normally try.
But it’s always great to indulge in old favourites.
“I’d have to say the Lillypilly Red Velvet was probably the one I liked the best.”
As the sun set on the festival in the late afternoon, revelers kicked on to other Easter festivities happened across the town.
Pics on page 13.