OPINION: Vintage Festival part of Barossan life

Like the grapes that stain our winery workers’ hands, there’s something about being a Barossan that gets into your skin and just sticks.

Whether you’re born and bred here or an adopted local, there’s a pride that goes with saying you’re from the Barossa – one of the best food and wine regions in Australia.

The Barossa Vintage Festival is a showcase of that reputation, something which the organisers of that very first festival 70 years ago can take great pride in.

The festival has become such a part of Barossan life, it’s hard to imagine a time without it. For me, vivid memories of festivals gone by fill my childhood memories.

Amid the 'adult' oriented events, the festival has always had family at its core. Picnics, parades, street parties and more – there really is something for everyone!

One of my fondest and most vivid memories is of the grape treading contest which used to take place under the shade of the fig trees along Angaston's main street.

My brother and I were so enthralled by this that we used to recreate our own contests in the back shed when Dad started making his own wine (sorry about the photo bro)!

As times have changed, so too has the festival; it is now a modern version of its former self, but continues to cater to that wide range of demographics.

The events, too, cater to a range of budgets and expectations. From high brow dinners and lunches to casual picnics, even flying kites, it is truly a festival for all.

This year’s festival – which kicks off today – offers more than 90 individual events across five days.

If you haven’t already planned your itinerary, here’s a few of my sentimental favourites which are guaranteed to keep anyone – local or guest – entertained:

  • Ziegenmarkt: What other event gives you the opportunity to purchase a goat?! The Ziegenmarkt is one of those Barossa traditions you just have to experience.
  • The Parade: Another 'tradition' that transcends generations, and seen by many as the centrepiece of the festival. Be sure to get your spot early – and don't forget the sparkling red!
  • The Festival Garden: This one has been a favourite since I was a kid. Below the shadows of the historic clocktower, experience a broad cross section of the Barossa.

Carla Wiese-Smith is editor of the Barossa Herald, and a proud born and bred Barossan.