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Children’s author to add her own magic to Mary Poppins Festival

Author and illustrator of the Ruby Red Shoes series Kate Knapp will bring her own brand of magic to the Mary Poppins Festival this June-July school holidays in Maryborough.

The Brisbane-based writer and artist was a perfect fit for the festivities,” Fraser Coast Tourism and Events marketing and communications manager Bradley Nardi said.

“Kate creates all of her artwork by hand using pencils, ink, watercolour and a little magic and of course we all know how enchanting the world’s most famous fictional nanny is.

“During the festival, Kate will be exhibiting her work and doing readings.”

Ms Knapp said the main similarity she saw between herself and Mary Poppins author P.L.Travers, who was born in Maryborough, was the desire to tell stories for children.

“Both Mary Poppins and the Ruby Red Shoes books have characters that children relate to and offer them some kind of companionship and teachings,” she said.

“Much of my inspiration comes from my childhood. It was simple and filled with interesting characters. There was plenty of time and space to develop my imagination.

“Plenty of quiet contemplative space, in my experience, is perfect for hatching creative ideas.

“Nature, friends and family, as well as children are a source of many ideas and subject material.”

Storytelling at Maryborough

Ms Knapp said it was a wonderful idea to have a celebration of storytelling in one of Queensland’s historic cities and she was excited to be attending. 

“It makes me feel like a child again,” she said.

“Ruby Red Shoes loves scones with strawberry jam and cream and has her fingers crossed that there will be someone serving them in Maryborough for the festival!”

Ms Knapp has visited Maryborough many times as a good friend of hers lives in the Heritage City.

“It’s a wonderful town and particularly appeals to my love of historical buildings as well as the unique charm of the wide streets, the Mary River, quaint cottages and measured pace of life.”

Mr Nardi said workers renovating the former bank building where P.L. Travers was born had encountered significant unforeseen restoration work while converting it to an interpretive centre.

He said in order to allow repairs to continue and ensure the heritage-listed building is safe and secure for future generations to enjoy, the planned sneak peek at the Story Bank had been removed from the Mary Poppins Festival schedule.

“But visitors will be able to learn about the extensive building restoration works and the plans for the interpretive centre,” he said.

The stately building was purchased by Fraser Coast Regional Council in 2015 and is undergoing a $2.2 million refurbishment with grant funds from the Australian Government’s Community Development Grants Program, the Queensland Government’s Building Our Regions Funding and the council.

Mr Nardi said there would still be plenty of other high jinks for festival goers to enjoy from June 29 until July 8 including a creative writing workshop hosted by visiting author of the Extreme Adventure series Justin D’Ath and Kids’ Party Confidential with comedian and author Sean Murphy.

During the festival’s major celebration, A Day in the Park on July 7, everyone can join in the fun of the grand parade, nanny race and chimney sweep challenge.

And that’s just the beginning of the charming fun! Visit marypoppinsfestival.com.au for more details.


Photo by Natalie McComas 2013, courtesy Fraser Coast Tourism and Events.

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Relish Food and Wine Festival

Only two sleeps to go till Relish Food + Wine Festival

Tickets to the inaugural Gin Joint burlesque dancing and gin tasting sessions have sold out but Relish Food + Wine Festival goers can still get on board Bubbles on the Boat, the Long Lunch and hands-on cooking sessions this Saturday, 2 June.

Robyn Peach, event manager for Fraser Coast Tourism and Events, said the special sessions were added extras on top of more than 60 fantastic food and wine stalls and cooking demonstrations at the festival in Maryborough.

“Ranger Nick will be showing people how to cook with a camp oven and there’ll be a beer and barbecue stall set up on the deck by the river,” she said.

“It’s going to be a beautiful day – cool and calm with lots of sunshine – it’ll be absolutely glorious in the Mary River Parklands so come down to Relish with your friends and enjoy some of the best food in the region with one of the best bands as well – Soul City.”

Federal Hotel chef Gavan Chin will take on a mystery box challenge at Relish and create a classic pub meal with a twist at noon in the Food Lovers Marquee.

“I don’t actually know what I’m cooking but it’ll be fun and light hearted and hopefully a bit educational,” he said.

“We’ll whip up something crazy.”

Mr Chin said it was the fourth year he’d been involved in Relish and he loved the festival.

“It’s great for the area and showcases all the produce and great establishments we have,” he said.

FCTE event coordinator Amber Tucker said tickets to the Long Lunch were selling fast and she recommended people go online or visit the Maryborough or Hervey Bay Visitor Information Centres to buy a ticket for the four-course meal made by the region’s best chefs.

Entry to Relish, which runs from 10am to 5pm, is $10 ahead of the event and $15 at the gate this Saturday.

Relish Food and Wine Festival

Amber Tucker (left) and Robyn Peach from Fraser Coast Tourism and Events and Federal Hotel chef Gavan Chin give Maryborough’s Heritage Market goers a taste of what’s to come on Saturday. 

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camp oven cooking

Meet camp oven cooking guru at Relish Festival

Camp oven cooking guru Ranger Nick will be one of the special guests at this year’s Relish Food and Wine Festival on June 2 in Queensland’s Heritage City of Maryborough.

Another fantastic addition to this year’s festival is a Gin Joint in the basement of the historic Bond Store where visitors will be able to taste various gin cocktails while watching a spicy burlesque performance.

Ranger Nick, whose appearance has been sponsored by Hervey Bay RV lifestyle community Latitude 25, will show visitors how to cook an amazing tasty meal using a camp oven and a small fire pit.

Relish organiser Robyn Peach, of Fraser Coast Tourism and Events, said Ranger Nick would join leading local chefs, including 2013 My Kitchen Rules winners Dan and Steph Mulheron, in showcasing the Fraser Coast region’s finest local produce.

She said festival goers would be able to dig into mouth-watering locally caught seafood, homegrown macadamia nuts and gourmet cheeses matched with awarding-winning wines and some of the finest craft beers from across south-east Queensland.

“Meet our local growers and makers, who love to share the fruits of their work, and our talented chefs who are passionate about providing the unmistakable stamp of our region in every dish,” Mrs Peach said.

“The immensely popular Relish Long Lunch is back again this year along with the Bubbles on the Boat cruises on the tranquil Mary River.”

She said the day of indulgence was set against the backdrop of the beautiful Portside Precinct among heritage streetscapes, Mary River parklands and the Mary River.

The jam-packed program includes a workshop at Gatakers Artspace to reveal the secrets of making sheets of botanical paper derived from common garden plants such as ginger, onion skins and turmeric.

And Kenilworth Dairies is promising some udderly delicious and nutritious tastings and hands-on masterclass workshops including one on how to make delicious dips using yoghurt.

“Livening up the atmosphere further will be rhythm and blues soul artist Doug Williams – a contestant on The Voice in 2014,” Mrs Peach said.

“Local favourite, the nine-piece band Soul City will also be performing throughout the day.”

The annual event began in 2012 and continues to promote and celebrate the Fraser Coast’s regional produce and food industry while allowing locals the chance to experience the breadth of local culinary offerings and giving people outside of the region a tasty excuse to visit.

General entry is $10 for those who buy tickets online or at the Visitor Information Centres in Hervey Bay and Maryborough ahead of the event or $15 at the gate, while the prices for the long lunch, cruise, cooking classes and gin joint can be found at relishfrasercoast.com.au.

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