We are well into Hobart festival season now, something that would have been pretty unthinkable just a few years ago. Back in 2001, the only sign of life in mid-winter was the Antarctic Midwinter Festival, based on the traditional winter solstice. How things have changed, with Dark Mofo, Festival of Voices and the Huon Valley Midwinter Feast lighting up the dark and propelling us all out into the winter night with our puffer jackets, scarves and wooly hats. It’s great to see Tasmania turn what was once a major obstacle to participation (and truly, what Australians regard as cold is not even close…ask a Canadian!) into an attraction in its own right. Our own festival team is involved, too, as we take on the new Australian Antarctic Festival from 2-5 August, 2018. This free, public event is designed to celebrate Hobart’s leading role as Australia’s Antarctic Port. There may not be wooden boats at the wharf, but there are two big ships, open for public tours on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 August, at Princes Wharf One. The CSIRO’s Investigator presents a fascinating look at Antarctic and Southern Ocean science, while the beloved ‘Big Orange Taxi’, the Aurora Australis brings back memories for thousands of expeditioners, tradies and scientists who have travelled aboard her during her nearly 30 years of service. The festival is presented by the Mawson’s Huts Foundation, the not-for-profit organisation that preserves Australia’s most remote heritage property, the original 1911-1914 huts of the Australian Antarctic Expedition at Cape Denison in East Antarctica. Australian Wooden Boat Festival, Inc. is happy to play a role in producing this great event on the Hobart waterfront. And of course, it keeps our hand in for the big event, now just six months away.
Hundreds of boat owners have already submitted their Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for the 2019 MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival, and we are still taking applications, but don’t leave it too late. Selectors tell that while it isn’t a case of ‘first in, best dressed’, it does pay to get your application in early. As we get closer to the cut-off date (14 October 2018), the number of available berths shrinks and the options begin to narrow. Your boat doesn’t have to be shiny and at its best right now – there will be a lot of stripping and varnishing going on as the weather eases towards spring – but your paperwork should be on the desk by now. Jump onto the registration page HERE to get started.