John Morrison and Jacki Cooper in the vineyard at Dingo Creek winery.
John Morrison and Jacki Cooper in the vineyard at Dingo Creek winery. Craig Warhurst

Rotary help keep festival running

GYMPIE Rotary Club has taken on its largest project - to rescue Dingo Creek Wine, Jazz and Blues Festival.

The festival had become too large for former organisers Dave and Marg Gillespie, who own and manage the Dingo Creek vineyard and winery at Tandur south of Gympie.

They approached the council to save the festival and the result is that the Rotary Club has taken it on.

Former Gympie Muster entertainment co-ordinator and Rotarian, Brian Sansom, will steer the planning team towards the next festival, set for July 20 - 22.

The festival has been held at the vineyard for more than a decade and operated as a not-for-profit organisation that raised tens of thousands of dollars for SIDS and Kids Queensland.

It has also been a major tourist attraction for the area, with an average of $30,000 injected into the economy each year.

"It's great that Rotary has taken on the festival. It got to the stage where it was too much for us and we needed extra help," Mrs Gillespie said.

"It's a lot of work...a year to organise. We got to the point where we had two options; close it down or find someone to take it on."

Rotary Club president Julie Kirkpatrick said the Gillespies had offered to assist the club in co-ordinating the 2012 event.

"This offer of support was one of the major deciders in the club taking on the project," she said.

"It will be our club's largest project and one that all members can play a role and I believe, can enjoy a great deal of fellowship.

"The project has the ongoing potential of raising valuable funds for community projects. Certainly this year funds raised will again be directed to SIDS.

The Gillespie's have donated more than $90,000 to SIDS in the 10-plus years the festival has been held.

"Our community owes the Gillespies and their hard working team a huge thanks for getting the festival to the level it is now," Mrs Kirkpatrick said.

The next festival will be held at Dingo Creek, July 20 - 22. Further details will be available by the end of February on the Dingo Creek website, dingocreek.com.au.

Gympie Times


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