Constant rain did not dampen the spirits of the thousands of people who flocked to Young for the annual festival.
Cherry Festival Organisers said both tourists and locals ignored the rain and made the weekend’s celebrations a success.
While the wet weather forced the cancellation of the street parade and rodeo, the (cherry) jam-packed program of the Festival ensured there was still plenty for people to see and do over the three-days of festivities.
Poppa's Fudge and Jam Factory owner Vicki Powderly said she had a “record” weekend of trade.
“The population of Young swells over the festival weekend and for us, it’s a great opportunity to not only boost the bottom line, it’s a chance for us to generate interest in our business with people from around the country – and the world – who go home and tell their family and friends about us,” she said.
“Business over the weekend was up 41 per cent compared to last year’s festival so staying open is an absolute win-win for us.”
Mayor Brian Ingram said the festival is a fantastic opportunity for local businesses to boost trade.
“For those businesses who extended their trading hours over the weekend to capitalise on the influx of visitors to the town, their efforts were certainly rewarded,” Cr Ingram said.
“Businesses have reported that trade was up compared to last year, and it’s not just in Young; businesses in our other towns and villages also benefit, particularly in terms of accommodation.
“Places like the Koorawatha Hotel had festival-goers staying over the weekend, so that demonstrates just how events like the festival have a positive knock-on effect, which is a fantastic outcome from a regional economic perspective.”
Hilltops Council Tourism and Events Manager David Newberry said the festival exceeded expectations.
“The wet weather obviously presented us with some challenges, but those who braved the rain were certainly not disappointed. The cherry-pie eating competition was as fierce as ever, as was the cherry pip-spit competition,” he said.
“The artwork displays, stalls and musical performances were brilliant as always and of course, the crowning of our Cherry Queen and Charity Queen was the jewel in the festival crown.”
Mayor Ingram said all those involved deserved to be congratulated.
“I’d like to congratulate our Cherry Queen Jade Nolan and Charity Queen Emma Blake, along with the sponsors, the National Cherry Festival Committee, the volunteers, Council’s outdoor staff and the Visitor Information Centre staff,” he said.