Porttoberfest turns 10 with the luck of the Irish

BEER FESTIVAL

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The famous Porttoberfest beer festival in Port Douglas will be held at Paddy's this year. IMAGE: Newsport.

THE Port Douglas Beer Festival will celebrate 10 years of beers on Saturday 28 October at Paddy’s Irish Bar and Grill.

Paddy’s and the Rattle ‘N’ Hum team have become the new curators of Porttoberfest as the event celebrates a decade of beer-induced decadence.

Having been a patron at eight of the 10 festivals, Paddy's manager Liam Hudson says the pub will add their own Irish flavor to the famous Port Douglas celebration.

“We’ve always loved the fun associated with Porttoberfest, and now we get the opportunity to show everyone how the Irish do it,” Hudson said.

“Porttoberfest is a great celebration of fun times in the Far North.”

With a full line-up of entertainment back, including the famous Porttoberfest Dancing Girls, Liam said anyone ‘who's ever drunk a drop over the 10 years’ to come a share a pint and a story at Paddy’s on Saturday October 28.

There will be best dressed cash prizes all day, cruisin tunes, oodles of games, merchandise, and (you guessed it) plenty of Beers of the World.


PORTTOBERFEST - A LONG AND STORIED HISTORY



Porttoberfest began on a sunny afternoon in 2007 under a beer soaked marquee in Rex Smeal Park.

Over 400 bruised heads struggled to piece together the night before on that occasion, vaguely remembering a zimmer frame led live oom-pah band and some young ladies who would become known as the famous Porttoberfest Dancing Girls.

Celebrating all things Port Douglas and the town’s appeal as an international location, the event quickly became ‘one of those days’ after eight local folk pulled together an afternoon of fun and frivolity.

After moonlighting at Rex Smeal Park for a few years, the sustainability of an offsite event sent the original organisers their separate ways.


WHY THE TWO T’S?



A young Adam French, then General Manager of the Courthouse Hotel, put his hand up to help in 2009 in what he coined the ‘best name for a beer festival’. But why the two t's?

No one has ever understood why Porttoberfest required an extra ‘t’.

“It makes no sense,” original event organiser Bruno Bennett would often be heard saying.

Yet bygones remained bygones and the original name stayed (many believe due to a case of dyslexia suffered by the three ongoing beerologists Josh McConnell, Roy ‘Wevs’ Weavers and Sam Cullen when ordering the roadside banner).

The Courty was up for making a Port Douglas day to remember, and with the help of the most authentic Porttoberfest member, German born Uli Braun, they turned the pub into a Bavarian beer house attracting a whole new audience.

It sealed the day into the annual calendar.


Causing not one, but two accidents at the Courty’s Macrossan Street zebra crossing, the Porttoberfest Dancing Girls stopped traffic (literally) with their now famous high energy Bavarian knee slapping performances. The Courty would play host for another three years.

Dynamic duo, Wayne Stapleton and Gerry Hughes from Lure Restaurant (the old Fiorelli’s), and the marina manager Jason Roles bid for the opportunity to put their spin on the event in 2012. By then it had a 500 strong audience of loyal beer guzzlers and fun lovers. 

In their first year, Lure clocked a record 1000 beerologists. The enormous effort, creativity and energy Wayne and Gerry injected was clearly evident and rewarded, and the festival would stay at the venue for the next few years.

Current Lure owner, Kelly Caughey, took over as curator in 2014, and combined with The Reef Marina general manager Rob Cruz in 2015 to help grow the event.

The year 2016 saw Porttoberfest hosted at the town’s first craft brewery Hemingway’s - the idea helping inspire the new brewers to attempt at mastering their own beer festival.

Which brings us to 2017, and another of the town’s famous beer havens in Paddy’s Irish Bar and Grill. The Irish pub will host the 10th anniversary of the event on Saturday 28 October.


Have a favourite Porttoberfest moment? Let us know in the comments below!


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