Small-town shows and festivals for foodies
While flashy food festivals are fun, there’s something magical about small-town shows.
Ditch your city rags and get your driving boots on: here are some of the best regional shows, festivals and fairs you can hit in a day trip from Brisbane. Just remember to bring us back some fudge, thanks!
Killarney Show | February 19 and 20 | 2.5-hour drive
For a true taste of small-town life, the Killarney Show is a must-visit! Started back in 1908, the show features prizes for farm produce, fruit and veg, plants including cactus and cut flowers and, of course, all the CWA-approved jams, jellies and sponges you can dream of!
In between judging the goods for yourself and checking out classic events including the wood chop (standing block, underhand, or double-handed open cross-cut?), stop by the pavilion for fresh scones and a cuppa—the country show classic. Don’t forget to grab some locally-made gourmet goods including jerkies, jams and sweets for the drive home!
Hampton Festival | May 15 and 16 | 2-hour drive
A charming High Country experience, Hampton Festival offers insightful foodie experiences from special events hosted at local venues to sessions with local producers. Check out the Growers on the Green precinct to check out local goods and meet the growers, stop by the beer garden for sessions with brewers and distillers, and grab a range of fresh local goods including produce, breads, meats, jams and relishes, sweets and even olive oil from the community produce stall!
Esk Show | May 21 and 22 | 1.5-hour drive
Running since 1904, the Esk Show describes itself as “a little bit country, but a whole lot of fun!”. With the perfect blend of crafts, creations and local foods to check out as well as more dogs, cows, horses and goats than you could poke the stick of a Dagwood dog at, the Esk Show is a perfect country escape.
As well as offering fair classics as well as a bar and barbecue, the Esk Show offers the Taste of Somerset, retailing local meats including beef and quail, fresh produce and jarred goods, with plenty available to sample! The Esk Show is also a gardener’s dream, with talks by the local garden club, seedling plantings for kids, and a plant sale so you can take home ANOTHER addition to your collection.
Kenilworth Cheese, Wine & Food Festival | June 19 | 2-hour drive
You may recognise Kenilworth for its famed bakery—they’re the ones who do the coffee in a doughnut and 1kg cream doughnut. A fun day out in a quaint hinterland town, Kenilworth’s major annual event is a foodie’s dream!
Enjoy wine and cheese tastings, gourmet cooking demos, and plenty of food stalls offering everything from seafood from the coast to wood-fired pizzas. Entertainment includes live music and camel rides for the kids, while the grown-ups will enjoy a stroll down the main street. Whatever you do, don’t miss the iconic cheese-rolling competition, and make sure you grab a scoop of ice cream from the dairy right across the main site!
Winter Harvest Festival | July 3 | Aratula | 1.25-hour drive
An annual favourite as part of Scenic Rim’s Eat Local Week, the Winter Harvest Festival offers a chance to rub shoulders and directly support the producers that feed Brisbane! An array of local flavours will be on show with tasting plates, wines and fresh produce on sale. Stick around for the famed tractor-pulling competition, which pits teams against a 12-tonne tractor!
Blackbutt Avocado Festival | September 11| 2.25-hour drive
For a wholehearted celebration of all things avocado, the Blackbutt Avocado Festival can’t be missed! With cooking demos, a country canteen and bar, food stalls and a wine alley, it’s a foodie paradise with some surreal avo-devotions thrown in, including a competitive avo toss and the “Avo drop”, which sees parachutists fall from 5000 feet in an attempt to land on a giant avocado. Av-solutely worth the trip.
So, who’s driving?
Images from Eat Local Week.
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