How does a weekend filled with fabulous food and mulled wines, enjoyed around warm, roaring fires sound? Then head to the 2021 Orange Winter Fire Festival next month for three days of feasts, markets and great music.
The Orange region's growing reputation for excellent restaurants and cool-climate wines has made it one of the most popular weekend getaway destinations in New South Wales. And the 2021 Winter Fire Festival, inspired by the great Australian cracker night and bonfire tradition, is the perfect time to explore the town and its surrounding villages.
Here are just some of the highlights from the festival.
For music and arts lovers
On the eve of the 2021 Orange Fire Festival, two-time ARIA award-winning country musician Mike Carr will join the Canobolas Hall house band. Cold August Night at Canobolas Dance Hall will feature musicians including Matt Arthur on guitar, Kyle Manning on keys, Luke Ferguson on bass and Dave Egan on drums. Lovers of live music can expect a roof-raising night of tunes and great food.
The Living in a Frosted World is a month-long art exhibition featuring works by Central West artists who've used their local winter wonderland as their inspiration. On opening night, expect music, wine and cheese set under a winter's sky lit up by twinkling fairy lights and culminating in a light show.
Want house tunes from the '90s and '00s? Join DJ Jez Smith for a night of laid-back beats at The House Party at Strawhouse Wines. Tickets include a welcome glass of wine and food.
Grande Fiamma at Cargo Road Wines promises an afternoon of wine and marshmallows by the fire, with country soul music by local musician Pat O'Donnell.
For meat lovers
Red Fire, Red Meat, Red Wine at Canobolas-Smith Wines will offer a five-course winter evening feast with fine drops from one of Orange's oldest wine producers.
It might just be one of the most stunning locations in Orange, which makes Stockmans Ridge Wines the ideal backdrop for a Wine & Fire Journey. The afternoon starts at the cellar door with a glass of sparkling, before a progressive wine tasting at various fire stops at the property. Want more fire? Add the spit-roast dinner for an extra fee.
For food lovers
For dinner with a difference, join the interactive food event at Ross Hill's Fabulous Fire Fest Feast. Here, you'll stop at five "stations", each featuring a dish paired with drops from the carbon-neutral Hawke from Lolli Redini restaurant.
At the Smoke and Fire Italian Dinner, guest chef Orazio D'Elia of Sydney's Matteo will cook up a four-course dinner, with matching Philip Shaw wines.
A Vine to Wine Experience: Sunset is a communal wine tasting and food pairing experience at the award-winning Nashdale Lane Wines. After the wine tasting and canapés, guests can sit by the outdoor fire pit and enjoy an optional extra glass of wine (or two).
Sample dumplings, noodles and more at Where East Meets West, at this food and wine pairing lunch hosted by JS Wines.
The evening Millthorpe Night Markets make a welcome return in 2021, with food and drinks stalls, live music and fireworks. Ice-skating is available all weekend (tickets sold separately).
For a family day out, head to the Woodfired Eugowra at the Eugowra Showground. There's free entertainment for the kids including a jumping castle and face painting, as well as a camp oven cooking competition and a low 'n' slow barbecue competition. Plus live music, food vendors and market stalls all day.
For mulled wine fans
Gather around the fire pit Fires of Discovery at Dindima Wines with Tina Leaman, a local Cultural Astronomer and Researcher. Expect an afternoon of story-telling about Indigenous foods and plants while sipping on mulled wine (made with Dindima red wine plus native fruits and spices) and snacking on bush bruschetta. Adults will receive a bottle of Dindima red wine, a native fruit and spice mulling blend, and recipe for the mulled wine to take home.
From up-and-coming Orange-based filmmaker Samuel Rodwell comes Inferno, an experimental short film about firefighters battling the Mount Canobolas bushfire of February 2018. The screening includes a glass of mulled wine plus a grazing table.
Mulled wine, German sausages and live music. Sounds like a good combination to us. What's more, the Mulled, Cured and Delicious event at Montoro Wines is a must for star-watchers. Download the free app to locate the constellations and planets in the Orange night sky.
Brought to you by Orange 360. You can stay abreast of all updates regarding the Orange Winter Fire Festival here.