Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

More Than Just a Lot of Beers; the Fun of the Party Wins Thousands as They Return Year after Year for PubFest

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

More Than Just a Lot of Beers; the Fun of the Party Wins Thousands as They Return Year after Year for PubFest

Article excerpt

Byline: CLEMENTINE NORTON LOOKS AT A MARYBOROUGH TRADITION

SOME try to tag the World's Greatest PubFest as just an excuse for a drinking binge a but the 24,000 people who have taken part during the past eight years know it is much more.

Friends reunite every year to make the pilgrimage through Maryborough's pubs and it doesn't matter whether you're a seasoned drinker aged 72, or a freshly-legal 18-year-old, everyone will be smiling.

Proof of its popularity was shown in the hundreds of letters that poured into the Chronicle last year when the Fraser Coast Regional Council announced the event would be cancelled due to lack of interest from participating pubs.

Thousands more people from all over the world joined Facebook campaigns, signed petitions, called or texted messages of support, as news of the event's impending demise travelled the globe.

After the public outcry, several more hotels agreed to take part so the event could proceed but the council decided the giant crawl was not sustainable in its current form, and 2011's event was billed the aLast Shouta.

Keen to call abottoms upa one last time, an estimated 10,000 revellers turned up in costumes ranging from bright orange construction workers to characters from cult computer game Angry Birds.

As with other years, only a fraction a about 3000 a handed in their official apub crawla cards that must be stamped at each hotel, a problem that has plagued organisers as they try to get a true count of the number of partiers.

But fears the drinking fest would be scrapped altogether proved wide of the mark.

In the face of overwhelming public support for the event, the council decided to instead expand it to include a wider demographic, by adding a food and fine wine festival on the Saturday.

The two-day extravaganza is expected to be a far cry from the somewhat humbler pub crawl initially conceived by a group including former Chronicle editor Nancy Bates, journalist Jocelyn Watts and then-councillor Anne Nioa in 2004.

The original plan was combine the annual Best of Brass competition with a aBack to the Banyan Treea reunion and a drinking fest, as part of a celebration that would commemorate Maryborough's 100th anniversary of reaching city-hood in 2005. …

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