AUSSIE THEME: Lizard lady Brooke Wood from Maryborough with theSienna Ahlhaus, Kyla Schulz, Maddison Candish, Dannielle Young and Cate Hall at last year's PubFest.
AUSSIE THEME: Lizard lady Brooke Wood from Maryborough with theSienna Ahlhaus, Kyla Schulz, Maddison Candish, Dannielle Young and Cate Hall at last year's PubFest. Alistair Brightman

FLASHBACK: 14 years of PubFest

IT'S the most Australian thing Maryborough could have done - setting a Guinness World Record for the largest pub crawl by accident.

That was in 2005, the first year the Heritage City hosted the event which was originally planned to be a reunion for locals before word quickly spread and feedback encouraged organisers to turn it into a multiple venue affair.

Clowns Brayden Pacey and Melinda Wright at the 2016 event.
Clowns Brayden Pacey and Melinda Wright at the 2016 event. Jocelyn Watts

There was no theme and attendees were just encouraged to dress up.

The day of drinking and wandering between venues attracted 1198 participants which placed Maryborough in the Guinness World Record book for hosting the world's greatest PubFest.

Nancy Bates, who was on the original organising committee, recalled people roaming the streets dressed as cockatoos on the debut day.

"There was massive support, and people took on the idea of wearing costumes with great enthusiasm,” Mrs Bates said.

"Because people had such a great time on the first one, we thought we could do it again and get more people.”

Stacey Connor, Mel Klupfel, Rhianna Brewer, and Bec Thompson
Stacey Connor, Mel Klupfel, Rhianna Brewer, and Bec Thompson Robyne Cuerel

Although the world record was taken away from the Heritage City a few times from several cities around the globe, Maryborough won it back in 2009 and held the record until 2013.

The event has grown to be one of Maryborough's most iconic calendar events, with the 14th annual PubFest to be held on Sunday complete with a circus and blue colour theme.

PubFest chairman Brendan Heit said despite the event not in the running to break a world record - the first time since 2005 - he predicted it will still be a hit.

He said there was a buzz in the atmosphere in its lead up.

"Everyone is asking about it, there's a great vibe,” Mr Heit said.

"Merchandise sales have been going really good too.

"The event is definitely alive and well, it's the only one of its kind for Australia.”

LOOKING BACK OVER THE YEARS

2005: Maryborough set the original Guinness World record for most people on a pub crawl with 1198 participants.

2006: 2237 people visited 10 pubs in six hours, breaking the record a second time. Sadly, the record was snatched a few months later by London - which despite its population of 7.5 million to Maryborough's 26,000, beat the record by just 41 people.

2007: Determined to snatch back the World's Biggest Pub Crawl status, 2,758 official crawlers came from all over Australia to reclaim the title.

2008: Maryborough once again made international history and broke all records, with just over 3000 official crawlers taking part.

2009: The City That Never Sleeps briefly stole the crown from Maryborough, when a record 3,163 revellers gathered in New York on March 14, but the victory was short-lived.

Partiers painted the town pink with the first themed Pub Crawl raising money for the McGrath Foundation. 4718 official participants took part in Maryborough's World's Greatest Pub Crawl. In February it was announced that Maryborough was once again the title-holder for World's Biggest Pub Crawl.

2010: The Heritage City just missed out on a new record, with participants dressed in blue for prostate cancer handing in 4122 cards at the end of the day.

2011: Just over 3000 drinkers dressed in orange raised money for the State Emergency Service - unofficial participants were believed to number 10,000.

2012: Numbers were down but the spirit was still high for World's Greatest PubFest 2012.

About 1600 official PubFest cards had been handed in by the 6pm deadline.

2013: With a record number of crawl cards already sold, organisers of the 2013 World's Greatest Pub Fest predicted Maryborough was in for its busiest and brightest event in history.

Up to 10,000 jubilant pub crawlers made their way around 13 pubs on Sunday.

2014: An estimated crowd of more than 4000 people may have failed to set a new world record, but have helped to raise more than $6000 for charity, as part of Sunday's World's Greatest Pub Fest.

2015: The region's big weekend of back-to-back festivals brought about 7000 people into the streets of Maryborough,

By this year, the three-year-old Relish's popularity increased with about 3000 attending, and PubFest remained at about 4000, which had a theme of yellow and heroes.

2016: World's Greatest PubFest organiser Brendan Heit has confirmed 1,629 passports were tallied for the Guinness record, about half of the 3500 sold. The theme was horror and red.

2017: Despite 4886 cards being sold - enough for the record - the number handed in was way less.

Organisers said the record was missed by a 'country mile.' The theme was green, and anything Australian.



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