Redlands ripe with 60th RedFest success

DANICA STREADER

The Redland Showgrounds were packed last week with punnets of strawberry-themed fun as visitors enjoyed sweet success of the 60th annual RedFest Strawberry Festival.

RedFest committee stalwart Bill Sedgewick

RedFest committee stalwart Bill Sedgwick with some of the two tonnes of strawberries that were delivered to this year’s festival. Photo: RedFest Media

RedFest began in 1958 with local farmers selling strawberries for $1 to raise money to build a community hall in Capalaba.

Now, more than six decades later, community members continue to band together each year to create an entertainment event focused on the Redlands’ agricultural origins.

RedFest Strawberry Festival President Luke Kinman said the 12-month preparation of their diamond anniversary event, which included music, food and fireworks, could not have been possible without the support of 150 local volunteers.

“RedFest is the only local event run by the community for the community,” Mr Kinman said.

“The Redlands is thriving off everything that we love – our food, our culture and our music,” he said.

“I’ve looked forward to carrying on the legacy of the last 60 years and one of the biggest changes we’ve made was rebranding the festival to focus more on the iconic strawberry.

“This year, the Wellington Point Farm brought in more than two tonnes of strawberries; all of them were hand-picked by staff and delivered straight to the festival for all to enjoy.

“Our strawberries are the best, the juiciest and are all grown right here in our red-soil backyard.”

Karen Williams, Luke Kinman and Lynne Sturgess at RedFest

Karen Williams (left) with Luke Kinman and Lynne Sturgess celebrate the 60th annual RedFest Strawberry Festival at the Redland Showgrounds. Photo: Danica Streader.

Redland City Chamber of Commerce are the primary supporters of RedFest 2018, and Chamber president Lynne Sturgess said the festival was a prime opportunity for local businesses to get involved with community.

“Business always plays a big role within the community,” Ms Sturgess said.

“Instead of people selling products, we focused on connecting people; conversation not sales,” she said. 

“We wanted this festival to be about making people aware that if they don’t buy or employ local, they are not connecting locally, which can really impact our economy going forward.”

Redland City Council Mayor Karen Williams, who attended the festival’s opening address, said RedFest had helped forge the cultural identity of the Redland coast.

“This is all about bringing the business community and the rest of the community together to celebrate what a wonderful place we live in, and you can feel that spirit here,” Cr Williams said.

Redland City Councillor Peter Mitchell agreed that the annual festival had a huge impact on tourism to the region.

“The Strawberry Festival is an integral part of the Redland coast after 60 years of community involvement,” Cr Mitchell said.

Generations of local families have formed wonderful memories and generations of community groups have given back as volunteers,” he said.

“Tourism is nothing new, with visitors from far and wide always coming to show off their produce or in recent times, enjoy the magnificent entertainment, fireworks and food.”

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