Look out for all of the avocado costumes at this year's Blackbutt Avocado Festival.
Look out for all of the avocado costumes at this year's Blackbutt Avocado Festival. Jessica McGrath

Avo Fest to attract thousands despite tough year for growers

HOLY guacamole, the line-up for this year's Blackbutt Avocado Festival offers something for every smashed av lover and is tipped to draw its biggest crowd yet, despite a tough season for farmers.

Next Saturday, September 14, festival-goers will be treated to Blackbutt's fourth Avocado Festival - an event formerly known as the Bloomin Beautiful Blackbutt Festival.

Festival chairman Jeff Conner, who has been in the role for 11 years, said the team had to make a tough call.

"The Bloomin Beautiful Blackbutt Festival was originally designed to celebrate Blackbutt and everything about it as the gateway to the South Burnett,” he said.

"We eventually chose the avocado as our shining star.

"We have about 13 local avocado farmers, so it seemed fitting.

"I would also unashamedly say that Blackbutt avocados are the sweetest and tastiest avocados ever.”

The festival revamp still captures the country charm and community character Blackbutt is known for, while also attracting more festival-goers.

Mr Conner said his team was expecting a record crowd at the event, which for the past few years has beefed up Blackbutt's population of about 850 to almost 3000 on festival weekend.

This year Mr Conner said they were expecting a turnout of more than 500 people thanks to new attractions to check out and fresh marketing techniques.

"I'm excited to see how our marketing has paid off,” he said.

"We have been working hard and investing money locally to try and get more people by marketing the festival through social media, which we haven't really done properly before, as well as to new groups.

"We used to only market to friends, family, locals, and neighbouring communities. Now we're really focusing on tapping into the foodies market.

"There are plenty of avocado lovers out there who need to know about our festival.”

Organising the festival hasn't been without its trials though.

Earlier this year it was looking unlikely there would be enough local avocados in order for the event to feature predominately local fruit.

"This year has not been a good year for our avos,” Mr Conner said.

"Back in February, what was thought of as a minor hailstorm for everyday people, actually put our farmers into turmoil.

"The plants were just starting to flower, nearing time to bare seeds and fruit, when the storms hit and farms lost as much as 80 per cent of their crops.”

Even though we're going to be spoilt for choices at the festival, sure to be faced with new and intriguing ways to try Blackbutt avocados, Mr Conner said his favourite was still the old faithful smashed avo on toast.

"With a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a bit of lemon and lime juice,” he said.

"You just can't beat it.”

For more information about the event, visit the website.

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