Feature

The little idea that just grew and grew

Tina Greenhalgh with Andrew Wilson, Julie Houston, Tiegan Johnson, Tony Ward, Nathan Burton and Kristie Ward are Ready for Pub Fest.
Tina Greenhalgh with Andrew Wilson, Julie Houston, Tiegan Johnson, Tony Ward, Nathan Burton and Kristie Ward are Ready for Pub Fest. Valerie Horton

IT'S the event that draws thousands to the Heritage City.

A chance for family and friends to come together and for Maryborough pubs to be put on show.

But how did the much-loved World's Greatest Pub Fest begin?

It began with Back to the Banyan in 2005, coinciding with the Best of Brass competition and a celebration of Maryborough's 100th anniversary.

Pubfest - the view from behind the bar at the Central.
Pubfest - the view from behind the bar at the Central. Alistair Brightman

This year, revellers will enjoy a ceremony to mark the 10th year of Pub Fest near the banyan tree in Queens Park.

The newspaper editor

Retired Fraser Coast Chronicle editor Nancy Bates said the World's Greatest Pub Crawl, as it was then known, grew out of the Back to the Banyan celebrations.

Nancy, former Maryborough City councillor Anne Nioa and journalist Jocelyn Watts were part of the group who conceived the pub crawl.

"It was a series of ideas that evolved," she said.

"It was a fun idea, we had no idea how big it would be."

For Nancy, it was also about endorsing the pubs of her much-loved Maryborough.

"It was more to promote the pubs and keep them all in Maryborough," she said.

In 2011 there was a threat of cancellation, with concerns the event was promoting a binge drinking culture.

"They didn't see the fun and friendliness," Nancy countered.

Pubfest - judging central - Scuba Steves from Hervey Bay.
Pubfest - judging central - Scuba Steves from Hervey Bay. Alistair Brightman

Nancy said Anne Nioa made a herculean effort during the first years to keep the event going.

"She was really quite remarkable," she said.

The council event planner

For Fraser Coast Regional Council event co-ordinator Kim Griffith, the pub crawl was her first Fraser Coast event when she started working for council in 2005.

"Basically it was a back to the Banyan reunion and then there was the idea of a pub crawl after it," she said.

Kim went along with her boss to the first event planning meeting.

"They were all talking a very different language to me, about the Cri, the P.O., the Aussie, the banyan," she said.

"So I'm sitting there going what language are they talking? Is there something I don't know?

"After the meeting I said to my boss what is a banyan? Why are they tying yellow ribbons on a banyan tree?"

Kim's boss took his new employee on a tour, educating her about all things Maryborough.

"I think it came about as an idea to attract people back into the area to say 'come back to see your family, see your friends, it's a long weekend and make the most of it'," she said.

Kim said the first pub crawl was a fantastic two-day event, starting with Back to the Banyan and ending with the pub crawl.

The Rambogan Super Sailors team of Ryan McGrath and brothers Danny, Sam and Peter Scotney at PubFest.
The Rambogan Super Sailors team of Ryan McGrath and brothers Danny, Sam and Peter Scotney at PubFest. Alistair Brightman

The councillor

With purple streaks in her hair, Anne Nioa will be among many embracing this year's World's Greatest Pub Fest theme of Magic and Fantasy, in support of Alzheimer's Australia.

This year, she is free to relax and enjoy the day but back in the mid 2000s Anne was at the forefront of the event, as chairwoman and city councillor.

"We wanted to have an event to bring people back to Maryborough as a reunion," she said.

"Jocelyn Watts actually came up with the idea of having the pub crawl."

Anne was a Maryborough city councillor from 2004 to 2008 and on the Fraser Coast Council from 2008 to 2012. She also chaired the event during its infant years.

"We decided we needed to sell the (official crawl) cards to raise money, because it was always a cost neutral event for council, because it was terribly politically incorrect.

Worlds Greatest Pub Fest .Tim Stebbings, David Foxell, Jaime Howard, Tracey Lakin, Ben Bowers, Krista Bowers, Wayne and Lorraine Foxell.
Worlds Greatest Pub Fest .Tim Stebbings, David Foxell, Jaime Howard, Tracey Lakin, Ben Bowers, Krista Bowers, Wayne and Lorraine Foxell. Robyne Cuerel

"To get people to buy the cards we thought we'd attempt a Guinness world record, so that's how it began."

Anne said the group had a vision that it would become an iconic event for the region, "which I believe it has become", she said.

Anne said the Pub Fest was an intrinsic part of Maryborough.

"Maryborough has always been renowned for the pubs.

"A lot of them have still got great character and stories about them."

Anne said she knew of people who came from all over the world to experience the Fest.

"It's like a huge costume party. It's like Mardi Gras in Rio or Sydney ,everyone's just happy.

"Once they put on a costume they take on a different persona and they're there to have a good time."

Anne said she hoped Maryborough could reclaim the World's Greatest Pub Crawl title again this year.

Worlds Greatest Pub Fest- Liz Stark, Amber Kassuke and Kristen Stiller on their way to the Westside tavern.
Worlds Greatest Pub Fest- Liz Stark, Amber Kassuke and Kristen Stiller on their way to the Westside tavern. Robyne Cuerel

The dedicated fan

Berny Thompson has never missed a Pub Fest.

Since 2005, the event has been a yearly highlight.

She said the first year was really exciting.

"We got a group together and we were the Jackie's Angels," she said.

"It was great fun."

One year, Berny and her gang dressed as Smurfs and landed themselves on a billboard near Tiaro.

In other years their eye-catching costumes have included everything from Flintstones, Smurfs and Pirates and have scored them a place on the local news.

Berny said she was disappointed when there was talk about cancelling the event she loved.

"It brings so much to Maryborough," Berny said.

"It's such a great event, it brings everyone in and everyone is so social.

"I have so much fun, there's never any trouble, everyone has so much fun."

Look out for Berny at this year's Pub Fest with her group of witches and pimps.

Topics:  anniversary history maryborough pub fest



Six hideaway bars to escape winter chill

THE last season of GoT finally uttered the words we’ve been waiting six seasons to hear and now that the weather has cooled down in Brisbane, “winter is here.”

Our six art gallery picks for a creative day out

Queensland's Gallery of Modern Art always has a fun, exciting and interesting exhibition on show for the whole family to enjoy.

YOU'D be mistaken in thinking Brisbane wasn't an arty city.

Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

You loved the film, now you're about to love the musical. Don't miss The Bodyguard The Musical in Brisbane this July.

THE arts and culture events you don't want to miss.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Date nights under $50

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic with a cracking view.

NOT every date has to cost you a bomb.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Rapist back in community despite breach

Knife-wielding rapist back in community

Man taken to hospital after walking into tree on Fraser

Ambulances "ramping" at the Ipswich Hospital emergency department.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

Paramedics were on board when he was taken to hospital.

Woman treated for burns to hands after cooking fire

Queensland Fire and Rescue. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle

Crews were called to the fire just before noon on Monday.

Local Partners

Six things you never knew about Men in Black

IT’S been 20 years since Men in Black first hit cinemas. Makes you feel old, doesn’t it?

10 strange stories behind famous sex scenes

Khaleesi and Khal Drogo in a steamy moment.

Every set has their own way of filming sex scenes

HBO spills new details on Game of Thrones’ final season

Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season will only have six episodes.

New details about what to expect from the eighth, final instalment.

Karl’s rant on Corby: ‘Made to look like idiots’

Karl Stefanovic is sick of hearing about Schapelle Corby.

Today co-host launched a tirade against Schapelle Corby media circus

Big Pineapple festival safety concerns as 100s walk home

LONG WALK HOME: Many festival goers opted to take a dangerous walk home due to transport difficulty following the Big Pineapple Festival in Woombye on Saturday.

Big Pineapple festival-goers have braved dangerous walks home

Shot at the live shows slips through Sally's fingers

Sally Skelton and Bojesse Pigram pictured after their battle performance on The Voice.

Sunshine Coast singer's dramatic elimination from The Voice

Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor split after 17 years

They were married in May 2000 and have two children, who they said will remain their priority.

Ben Stiller and his wife Christine Taylor have called it a day

New $46.7m counter-terrorism facility to be built in Wacol

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, pictured with Police Commisioner Ian Stewart, has announced plans to build a new counter-terrorism facility in Wacol.

The facility will be built over three years.

Home to a sex worker: Sordid history of iconic Coast shed

Milojevic Djordjevic's daughter Linda at the derelict shed on Yandina-Coolum Road.

The shed was once a liveable 'barrack'.

This is real estate's billion-dollar man

Bob Wolff at AREC with John McGrath of McGrath Real Estate.

They don’t call him the “Billion dollar man” for nothing

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!