Sweet Days Hot Nights latest news.

Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival organisers are encouraging locals to pull out their phones and snap a selfie with festival mascot Mick to win.

Organisers are holding a ‘Take a Pic with Mick’ competition with entrants going in the running to win a $100 Burdekin Gift Card.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said life-size cut-outs of the akubra-wearing, guitar-playing hand cane cutter will be appearing around the Shire in the lead up to the highly anticipated event.

“With less than two weeks to go until the 2019 Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival, our festival mascot Mick is eager to explore the sites of our Shire,” she said.

“If you find Mick, snap a selfie and upload your photo to Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #SweetDaysHotNights to go in the draw to win.”

The Take a Pic with Mick competition will run from today until Saturday 1 June.

The Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival, presented by Pacific Hydro, is a celebration of our rich agricultural region and our relaxed lifestyle.

The 2019 festival includes the First Fire (Thursday 30 May), Burdekin Cultural Fair (Friday 31 May) and Australian Hand Cane Cutting (Saturday 1 June) events.

For more information, visit www.sweetdayshotnights.com.au.

Rugby League Hall of Fame legend Shane Webcke will leave Brisbane for sweeter days, with Webcke today revealed as the MC for the Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival’s Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championships.

The Brisbane Broncos great is a household name for running onto the paddock as a Queensland Maroon 24 times and for representing Australia in 26 tests. He was also awarded the Daly M Prop of the Year award three times.

Throughout his NRL career Webcke was regarded as one of the toughest in the game– but he says even that hasn’t prepared him for the intensity of hand cane cutting.

“I’ve never been near sugar cane, including cane cutting knives. I think I might give the competition a miss – lest I return home minus a limb or two!” Webcke joked.

“I’m looking forward to mixing with regional Queenslanders and soaking up the atmosphere of one of our iconic industries. It’s sure to be an enjoyable occasion.”

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said Shane Webcke was a great fit for the national hand cane cutting competition.

“The Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival is all about showcasing and celebrating our rich agricultural region here in the Burdekin, from our world-class produce to our iconic sugar cane fires,” she said.

“Shane grew up on a sheep property in the Southern Darling Downs and now owns his own farm where he runs wool growers, fattens lambs and grows grains. He has a great appreciation of all things agriculture and is a perfect match for the festival.

“I had the pleasure of hearing Shane speak in the Burdekin last November. He is such an engaging speaking who resonated with the entire audience. We’re incredibly excited him to have him come on board as part of the 2019 Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival.”

The Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championships kicks off from 11am on Saturday 1 June at the Home Hill Showgrounds, with finals to commence from 2:15pm.

The Championships is one of three events making up this year’s Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival between 30 May and 1 June. For more information, visit www.sweetdayshotnights.com.au.

Do you want to help us make this year’s Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival bigger and better than ever before? Then we need you for our 2019 volunteer event crew!

Community volunteers are the friendly faces of the three-day event, helping to create the festival atmosphere and are essential to its success.

The commitment doesn’t need to be huge- even one hour would help organisers enormously.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said a range of tasks were available to suit different skills and personalities.

“Volunteers can help with everything from marshalling, to event programme distribution, to data collection and even race timekeeping,” she said.

“There’s a role to suit everyone, with each and every volunteer crucial to making the 2019 Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival an incredible experience for tourists and locals alike.”

Volunteers can choose one or more of the following events:

  • First Fire – Thursday 30 May
  • Burdekin Cultural Fair – Friday 31 May
  • Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championships – Saturday 1 June

Applications for volunteer event crew close on Friday 17 May at 5:00pm.

A mandatory induction and information session for all volunteers will be held from 5:00pm to 6:00pm on Wednesday 29 May.

For more information and to apply, phone Council’s Tourism Section on (07) 4783 9800 or email tourism@burdekin.qld.gov.au.

Excitement is building for the first ever Burdekin Cultural Fair which is being held in Ayr on Friday 31 May.

The event, which kicks off from 5:30pm, will be a celebration of all things food, fun and family.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said the Cultural Fair was the latest addition to the Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival, turning it into a three-day event.

“After the overwhelming success of the Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival last year, Council investigated ways to expand the festival even further,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“This year, Council is introducing the Burdekin Cultural Fair as a way of celebrating the diverse population that calls the Burdekin home, and to entice visitors to spend a little longer in our beautiful Shire.

“The Burdekin Cultural Fair is one-way Council can celebrate our rich multiculturalism whilst also supporting local businesses and boosting our visitor economy.”

Entertainment includes traditional dancing performances by Greek, Indian and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups. There will also be Chinese lion dances, henna tattooing, a jumping castle, arts and craft activities and a variety of food vendors.

Cr McLaughlin said the event had originally been scheduled for Sunday 2 June, however organisers decided to change the date to Friday 31 May to entice visitors to stay overnight in the region.

“Visitors can come to the Burdekin on Thursday afternoon for the First Fire, stay for the Burdekin Cultural Fair on Friday Night, and enjoy all the action of the Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championships on Saturday before travelling home later that afternoon or on Sunday,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“This allows them to make the most of their time in the Burdekin and enjoy all we have to offer.”

The Burdekin Cultural Fair will be held from 5:30pm to 9:30pm in the grounds adjacent to the PCYC building in MacMillan Street, Ayr.

Cr McLaughlin thanked the Queensland Government for supporting the Burdekin Cultural Fair under the Celebrating Multi Cultural Queensland Program.

For more information about the Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival, including information on the First Fire and Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championships, visit www.sweetdayshotnights.com.au.

The Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival will be a whole lot sweeter this year after Burdekin Shire Council announced the festival will include a cultural food and activity fair in 2019.

Mayor Lyn McLaughlin made the announcement during the official launch on Friday night, saying the newly-announced Burdekin Cultural Fair would expand the festival into a three-event program.

“The Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival was a great success in 2018, with more than 2,000 people witnessing the power of the First Fire and a further 3,000 attending the Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championships,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“This year will see the return of the First Fire on Thursday 30 May and the Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championships on Saturday 1 June, and we are incredibly excited to announce that the event will now conclude with the Burdekin Cultural Fair to be held in Ayr on Sunday 2 June.

“The Burdekin Cultural Fair will celebrate our diverse culture here in the Burdekin through a range of cultural activities, food and entertainment, and will ensure the festival is celebrated throughout the Shire.

“Through this signature festival event, we envisage growing the visitor economy and offering a unique experience for both visitors and locals alike.”

During the launch event it was revealed that renewable energy company Pacific Hydro had committed to a three-year partnership with Council, coming on board as Presenting Sponsor of the Festival.

Pacific Hydro Engagement and External Affairs Manager Krista Kim said the partnership was extremely important to the company.

“Having the opportunity to once again partner with Burdekin Shire Council to deliver the Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival is very exciting for us,” she said.

“It is also the perfect opportunity build on the many relationships that we have worked hard to forge over the last two years since we first entered the Shire.

“Successes in our relationships with the communities where we operate are as important to our business as other factors, such as technical and financial success.”

Cr McLaughlin also announced Evolution Mining as the Presenting Sponsor of the First Fire event and Queensland Sugar Limited as the Presenting Sponsor of the Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championships.

Created in 2018, the Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival is a celebration of the Burdekin agricultural region and the enviable lifestyle that comes with it, from fresh produce and culinary delights through to adventure and sports tourism experiences, country hospitality, great music and family-friendly entertainment.

The inaugural event combined the pre-existing First Fire and Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championships events to create a revitalised family friendly festival.

Cr McLaughlin thanked the Queensland Government for supporting the Burdekin Cultural Fair under the Celebrating Multi Cultural Queensland Program.

Australia’s best hand cane cutters are preparing to slice through the competition this June, with nominations for the 2019 Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championship opening today.

During the annual competition, competitors will race to harvest sugar cane armed only with a cane knife. Cane sticks must then be neatly stacked after being cut, and no more than 5cm of the cane should be left behind in the field – or else penalties apply.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor and past competitor Lyn McLaughlin said the national championship was the ultimate test of skill and endurance.

“Hand cane cutting is dirty, back-breaking work. You have to swing a knife over and over again as you cut and lay the sticks as quickly as possible,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“Walking around the showgrounds, you can tell who’s competed that day because they’re typically covered head to toe with sticky black residue.”

There are seven different cane cutting divisions this year.

The male divisions are broken into the Under 35 Years, 35 to 55 Years and Over 55 Years divisions.

Age will go out the window when the top eight male competitors progress to the final where they compete for the title of Australia’s best hand cane cutter.

Women can compete in the Ladies Cup or the inaugural Ladies Novice – an event aimed at first timers. Teams of four can also compete in either the Swindley Memorial Cut, Top and Load or the inaugural Corporate Challenge.

Last year, more than 30 people from across Australia entered the unique competition.

Cr McLaughlin says the Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championships is one of three events that make up the Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival.

“The Sweet Days, Hot Nights Festival is a uniquely Burdekin experience. There are very few places in Australia that even burn sugar cane anymore,” she said,

“To see a one-hectare cane field fire as part of the First Fire event, and then watch that same field be used during the Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championship is something that people can’t experience anywhere else in Australia.”

The Australian Hand Cane Cutting Championship is presented by Queensland Sugar Limited and kicks off at 11am on Saturday 1 June at the Gudjuda Home Hill Showgrounds.

A Cutters Muster will be held prior to event to provide young and new competitors the chance to learn skills from experienced hand cane cutters.

To nominate, visit http://bit.ly/AHCCCreg, phone Burdekin Shire Council’s Tourism Department on (07) 4783 9800 or email tourism@burdekin.qld.gov.au. Competitors can also nominate on the day.

For more information, visit www.sweetdayshotnights.com.au