The 67th Annual Cherry Festival started off with a bang on Friday evening with Young’s Jemma Long crowned 2016 Cherry Queen and Jacqui Everdell winning 2016 Charity Queen during the festivities in Anderson Park.
Cherry Queen organiser, Lenore Schiller said the night ran smoothly with more than $37,000 raised by the entrants. Forty per cent of the money raised will go back into the Cherry Festival with the remaining 60 per cent going to the entrant’s charities.
“The girls can be so proud of themselves,” Lenore said.
She said Caitlin Muller-Sheehan did a marvelous job of organising and helping the girls in the lead up to the night.
Organisers would like to give their thanks to the community for standing behind the girls and giving so much over the past months.
They would also like to thank Vicki Powderly from Poppa’s Fudge Factory who stood in for Wendy Tuckerman who was unable to attend due to being stuck in Sydney traffic.
Festival organiser, David Newberry, said the festival went “fantastically well,” with everyone pleased it went off without a hitch.
Earlier last week the organisers had been concerned that numbers would be down due to the late start to the cherry season, however due to the sunny and warm weather throughout the week there were plenty of cherries to be picked and visitors to the festival were on par with previous years.
Annie Bassingthwaighte from Annie B’s Full House said the weekend was okay for businesses in town, with the street not as busy as it had been last year.
“There were lots of visitors but trade was down on last year,” she said.
Annie has suggested changes to the organisers of the weekend.
She would like to see the parade held earlier in the day and stalls in the street throughout the day, which she believes would be more beneficial for business owners in town.
However, Annie gave the weekend a thumbs up.
“It was so great to see people in the street and so many shops open [on Sunday],” she said.
Saturday was an action-packed day with events held all over the town, but many visitors congregated at Anderson Park to see if Ben from Byron Bay could take out the cherry pie eating competition again.
In what has been described as a highly intense competition, Ben just missed out on the win this year, losing to Kevin Keith of Canberra who was crowned the 2016 male champion.
The ladies division was just as harrowing with the 2015 champion, Jessica Richards, just missing out on regaining the title to New Zealander, Annie Tangata who was named 2016 Champion.
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