The countdown is on for the only festival that stops the Bruce Highway as the Childers Festival 2023 gets set to celebrate culture, food and history.
Held over four days, the festival will run from Thursday 27 July to Sunday 30 July.
The Childers Festival experience is expanding this year with the addition of a new Twilight Market which will launch the festivities on Thursday afternoon.
There will be a little more heat added this winter as the traditional Childers Festival Saturday night celebration turns into a feast of colours, tastes and rhythms with a Latin American vibe for Crescent Street Presents: Fiesta Latina.
Then Australian blues-rock band Joe Camilleri and The Black Sorrows will take centre stage on Sunday to round out the annual event.
The iconic Childers Festival transforms the highway into a gigantic food, market stall and entertainment hub, all staged between the heritage listed buildings and leopard tree lined streets of Childers, just a short drive west of Bundaberg or about a four hour trip north of Brisbane.
Bundaberg Regional Council Arts, Culture and Events portfolio spokesperson Cr John Learmonth said all the favourites, including the Long Table Dinner, Arts in the Park, Cane Fire Tour and Opera by the Lake, would return, along with some very exciting new additions to this year’s Childers Festival.
“The festival will kick off on Thursday 27 July, with the exciting new Twilight Markets, an Art Walk and the Hill of Promise Long Table Dinner,” he said.
“During the Childers Festival locals and visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy the day in the tranquil atmosphere as they delve into a Picnic in the Vines, before A Night of Burlesque at the Paragon.”
Cr Learmonth said the four-day event was definitely jam-packed full of exciting entertainment, with something for everyone.
“Friends and families should be sure to bring their dancing shoes to Crescent Street as they can complete the Fiesta Latina experience with salsa dancing on Saturday evening,” he said.
“They can join Andre and Heidi from Gold Coast Salsa for some salsa dance lessons before renowned Cuban dance band Chukale set the stage alight and get the crowd moving to that infectious Latin rhythm.”
The main festival day, which closes the Bruce Highway on the Sunday, will kick off from 9 am to 3.30 pm and will feature entertainment hubs scattered throughout the event space as well as two main stages of non-stop music, including headline act Joe Camilleri and The Black Sorrows, the Chilli Chomp Comp, hundreds of market stalls and a smorgasbord of food from all over the world.
Joe Camilleri and The Black Sorrows have been at the forefront of the Australian music scene for decades and will this year grace the Childers Festival stage as the headline act.
Festival goers will join Joe and the band to belt out all their favourites, including Hit and Run, Shape I’m In, Chained to the Wheel, Harley and Rose and Never Let Me Go.
“There will also be an amazing ensemble of stilt walkers from Fiesta Creations, who will be roaming the festival spreading joy from above and breathing life into the event,” Cr Learmonth said.
Divisional representative Cr Bill Trevor said the festival was always a highlight for the Childers community, and he encouraged all visitors to immerse themselves in the festive atmosphere that would provide a chance to uncover the hidden gems of the region.
“There will be the opportunity to hear stories of heartbreak and humour, heroes and villains that have shaped the history of Childers during the Historical Bus Tour,” Cr Trevor said.
“The four days will offer the chance to see Childers in all its glory with behind-the-scenes events.
“The Sugar Mill and Cane Fire Tour is always a highlight of the Childers Festival.
””It provides a little bit of sweet history for the whole family and ends with a spectacular cane fire, and a barbeque dinner.”
Cr Trevor said from modest beginning in the mid-1990s the Childers Festival had continued to grow, and he looked forward to welcoming everyone again this year.
“Childers Festival’s famous market day sees more than 30,000 people flock to the small town for celebrity artists and live music from every genre and decade,” he said.
“The incredible markets feature a highway filled with over 300 stallholders with a range of vintage treasures, local produce, hand-made gems and local arts and craft.
“There’s definitely always something for everyone at the Childers Festival.”
Childers Festival 2023
When: Thursday 27 July to Sunday 30 July
Where: Various locations in the Childers region
For more information: click here
The full Childers Festival 2023 program is now live with tickets on sale from Monday 29 May.