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The Barossa Festival 2009 - Part 4

Vintage Festival Parade, Nuriootpa Town Day (Barossa Brunch) and Tanunda Town Day
April 18th, 2009

Eight days into the Barossa Festival finds Rose and I at the Nuriootpa Town Day. Obviously Nuriootpa is another Town of the Barossa Valley and serves as a commercial/shopping centre for many of the smaller surrounding towns (such as Greenock).

We arrived in town just in time to see the start of the Barossa Vintage Festival Parade that showcases local wineries, businesses, community groups and more. Apparently it's the longest parade in the southern hemisphere given that it runs the distance between Nuriootpa and the town of Tanunda. It includes over 100 floats and 1200 participants and has been a Barossa tradition since 1949 (can you tell I'm just rattling off figures from the brochure now?).

Anyhow, for a parade that isn't a Christmas Pageant (with all the story book and Christmas themes to base floats on) this one was still a lot of fun had a good variety of floats, bands, cars and people to see.

It's hard to pick out just a few highlights from my photographs but I'll try. (Don't forget, you can click on the images if you'd like to see bigger versions of each photo).

The car covered in turf certainly made me do a double take because at first glance the turf looked real.

There was the wood carver from Angaston's Town Day, carving his toy rocking horses on the back of his truck.

An entire crowd of what looked like people dressed as yellow rockets but I'm guessing were actually cheese sticks as their float was advertising a Cheese Shop.

One float had a science fiction theme and featured Star Wars characters, a rocket and a Doctor Who Tardis. I've no idea what it was about but it was certainly different.

Even more different was a little red car that depicted the George Bush 'shoe throwing incident'. How that got into the parade I'll never know but it was quirky none the less.

Finally I thought some of the really old tractors bringing up the rear of the parade were, perhaps not the most exciting, but still interesting to see.

There was far more to see in this parade than I can show including custom made cars, trucks, singers, and quite a few over-sized wine bottles waving the flag for the various wineries.

Once the parade was over we wandered around the rest of the main street to see the various stalls and displays.

You had to get up pretty early to see everything because Nuriootpa's Town day was really only two thirds of a day, beginning at 8:30am and finishing at 2pm. Unusual I know but no doubt timed to correspond with Tanunda's Town day at the finishing line of the parade. Their day started at 1:30pm with the parade finishing there at about 2pm.

We'd arrived at 11am so we missed a few things but if you had kids they could catch a traditional Punch and Judy show or play a game of Snakes 'n' Ladders using themselves as place holders on an over-sized floor mat game board. There were the obligatory fair ground rides and plenty of live music too.

To sum up Nuriootpa's Town day (which officially was actually called the Barossa Brunch) really lived up to expectations. The parade was a real bonus but once it had left town for Tanunda there was still plenty to wander around and look at. We also stopped for lunch at a fairly nice cafe too who's name escapes me (Fisherman's Wharf Cafe I think - something to do with fish anyway).

Rose and I stayed until the end of Nuriootpa's Town Day then we moved on to Tanunda's. I didn't take a lot of photos here, not because there wasn't anything happening but because Tanunda was jam packed with people. It seemed like everyone who had been watching the parade or been at Nuriootpa in the morning had descended on Tununda. The overall effect was a lot of people sampling the wine, standing around talking or gathered around various events turning the whole thing into one massive street party.

We did get to view a few art galleries including the Barossa Regional Gallery that always has some very interesting, contemporary art - definitely worth checking out if you're in town (but it often costs money to get in).

Both of us stopped to watch the German Dancers (that we'd first seen at Lyndoch's family fun day and then again at Angaston's Town Day) and we caught another heat of the grape stomping competition (though we missed the Grand Finals which were also held shortly after).

Things really turned into a street party when Chad Romero and his band, Cabaret Cabernet hit the main stage singing classic rock and pop covers. Rose and I caught the bands last set of about five songs. Whilst the photo doesn't really show it, by about the second song Chad had the crowd dancing and hyped. He really was a fantastic showman and sung the event to its close at 5:30pm.

I'm not altogether sure about Tanunda's Town Day. It's highlights were good but it seemed like you had to pay an entry fee to get into nearly every second display. Fair enough many of the displays were to raise funds for the community groups putting them on but in my opinion, on a day like this, a gold coin donation is a better way to go.

There were a number of displays we would have looked at even though we didn't have a lot of interest in them but didn't because of the entry fees.

The only other aspect I'd criticize worked for and against it. The number of people standing around drinking wine and talking was incredible. It did add to the street party atmosphere but it sure made it hard to get around and very difficult to see things. As I said though, once Chad and his band got on the stage it really lifted the atmosphere and it was good to have a crowd.

If you like crowds, wine, food and a party atmosphere, Tanunda's Town day is a must for you. It's definitely a bit of a party town.

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