The Orange Winter Fire Festival in the central-west New South Wales town is back this year from August 2 to 4, offering visitors a warming extended weekend to celebrate winter in the Orange region.
Frosted mornings and sprinklings of snow are followed by bright sunshine days in Orange that filter the crisp mountain air.
Produce goes to ground and hearty vegetables fill meal-time bowls, as locals sip red wine and gather around the bonfire, sharing stories and laughter with friends and strangers under the starry crystal clear skies during the annual Winter Fire Festival.
Now in its second year, the three-day festival showcases Orange and its surrounding villages at their winter best, with a program that is guaranteed to fire up its attendees.
This year’s festival will take guests on a journey of bonfire events, char-grilled feasts, campfire cooking, boutique shopping, award-winning wine, arts and crafts, and artisan makers.
It also includes the popular Orange Readers and Writers Festival, featuring headline author Meg Keneally (Monsarrat and Fled). The festival presents the perfect opportunity for book clubs to head to the Central West for a weekend of fireside reading.
Managing Director of regional tourism initiative Orange360, Caddie Marshall says of this year’s festival, “We’re so proud to be showcasing what we love about this region in winter.”
“As winter approaches, stillness descends on the Orange region as the landscape rests, though it doesn’t idle.”
The Fires in the Sky dinner is the newest fixture on the 2019 program, held on Saturday 3 August from 4pm. The magical evening will take guests on a star gazing journey with Wiradjuri locals, along with Indigenous arts activities and a “bush tucka” feast.
Catered by Indigenous local Gerald Power over fire pits, the feast includes emu, kangaroo, Warrigal greens and Johnny Cakes. Tickets are $70 per adult and $40 per child.
Festival highlights include:
Millthorpe Night Markets – Friday 2 August
Kick off this year’s festivities at the hallmark event of the festival, night markets in the historic Millthorpe Village. Free to attend, vendors this year will include Spilt Milk gelato, beers from Beekeepers Inn and wine from Cumulus, Rikard, Twisted River, Antonio’s and Slow Wine Co.
Fire it Up – Friday 2 August
Orange’s cultural centre, The Building, will be transformed into a winter performance and visual arts hub for a night of music, light and art. Featuring performances by ARIA-award winning songwriter Mike Carr and local musicians Kyle Manning and Amy Viola. Tickets are $50 per person.
Cooking with Fire at Philip Shaw – Saturday 3 August
Take a journey to southern Italy with Paolo Gatto of Sydney’s Sud restaurant. Paolo will be cooking an authentic Italian feast inspired by his childhood and his Nonna’s cooking, with dishes cooked in a wood fired oven. Starting at 7pm, the dinner will be paired with matched wines selected by Philip Shaw winemaker, Daniel Shaw. Tickets are $120 per person.
Rikard at Racine – Sunday 4 August
Warm up with a fireside three-course feast at Racine Restaurant, paired with a selection of Rikard Wines’ pinot noirs and shiraz. Hear from William Rikard-Bell, 2019’s Young Gun of Wine Top 50, as he explains the vineyard’s hand-made wines. Tickets are $160 per person.
This year’s festival will be building on the success of the inaugural event, which attracted more than 5,000 people. Winter Fire Festival complements the Orange region’s year-round program of events including Orange Wine Festival and Orange FOOD Week.