There are some destinations that come alive under the magical mist of winter, that make you anticipate the first snowfall, and embrace the romance of rugging up in front of a fire.
These are places where the cold doesn’t chill your bones, but instead, warms your heart.
The New South Wales New England town of Glen Innes is a perfect example. It has one of Australia’s coldest climates outside of the Snowy Mountains and Tasmania, along with a fascinating Celtic history and picturesque surrounding landscapes.
In short, it boasts the perfect blend of historic intrigue and beauty that makes it a captivating place for a winter sojourn.
All of this frosty enchantment is ready to capture at the Chill n Glen festival, to be held on the weekend of 22-23 July. Wander European-style markets, savour a Christmas in July feast, and discover just what’s so special about this time of year in Glen Innes.
MARVEL AT THE MARKETS
Germany’s Christmas markets are one of the most iconic parts of celebrating the festive season in Europe. However, you can save yourself the international flight by soaking up the atmosphere at the Glen Innes version.
Styled in the tradition of markets in Germany, Austria and France, and organised by the local German/Austrian Club, the Glen Innes market will feature 30 decorated stalls full of local and homemade items, arts and crafts, and best of all – plenty of European treats.
When it comes to winter, what sounds better than rugging up, perusing the markets and sampling Belgian waffles, gingerbread and Viennese coffee? Not much!
Among the themed eateries at the markets will be the Samovar Russian Tearoom, serving Russian Christmas tea. It’s the perfect accompaniment for the chilly weather.
BRUSH UP ON HISTORY
Glen Innes has such a rich history that it would be a shame to visit and not find out more about its intriguing past.
Luckily, Graham Wilson OAM will be on hand during Chill n Glen to lead a number of heritage walks. Graham is a registered Heritage Advisor, and was awarded OAM in recognition of his heritage conservation services in Armidale.
Under his expert guidance, you’ll learn more about the architectural and heritage value of some of the oldest buildings in Glen Innes, as well as discover the social history of the town.
ENJOY FESTIVE FEASTS
Chilly weather calls for hearty fare, and plenty of Glen Innes restaurants and cafes are taking this to heart by hosting Christmas themed dinners during the festival.
Feast on a roast dinner with all the trimmings and toast the cosy surrounds. Experience the most wonderful time of the year as it’s often portrayed in film and books – curled up by the fire!
Whoever said it’s hard to entertain kids in winter had never been to Glen Innes. There will be activities aplenty at Chill n Glen with indoor arts and crafts and outdoor games.
If your little ones prefer to stay out of the cold, they can make fabric snowmen; try their hand at painting winter scenes and warm up with an indoor game or two. Head outside and the fun continues with giant games of chess, Connect 4, and Jenga in the street, and old fashioned knock ‘em down games.
There will also be novelty photo booths around, perfect for capturing these family fun moments to look back on.
BETTER WATCH OUT!
Who’s been naughty and who’s been nice? Saint Nikolas and the mischievous Krampus are set to find out, as they parade through Grey Street, in the tradition of central Europe.
Traditionally, Saint Nikolas is a benevolent gift giver, handing out treats to children who have been good. He is generally accompanied by some not-as-nice friends, one of them being the horned creature, Krampus who hands out coal to those who have been naughty.
However, at Chill n Glen, Krampus takes a kinder approach – he will hand out lucky dips, some of which will include a special number so that children can claim a surprise gift.
A CRACKER OF A NIGHT
On Saturday night the place to be will be the local showgrounds where a stunning fireworks display will be held at 6pm. Before the big bang there will be plenty of fun to be had with kid’s games, a snowman making competition, and an air guitar competition.
Of course, throughout the festival there will be plenty of things happening along Grey Street. The town crier will be out and about, art-lovers can peruse an exhibition, there will be spinning, weaving and knitting demonstration, as well as musical entertainment.