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19 March, 2021

FNQ's signature annual event - Feast of the Senses

The Feast of the Senses is North Queensland’s signature tropical food experience and the Cassowary Coast’s major festival centred on the town of Innisfail.

By Peter McCullagh

Queensland’s premier fruit festival will be held in April this year. The four-day event will host a variety of activities from Thursday 15 to Sunday 18 of April.

From its humble beginnings in 2003, this local community festival has become one of the top 10 must do festivals in Queensland, and it’s right on your doorstep.

Just 86km south of Cairns, the Feast of the Senses has been attracting local, regional, interstate, and international visitors for years. This year marks the 18th annual festival, after the 2020 event was cancelled due to Covid19 restrictions.

The festival showcases the region’s unsurpassed variety of rare and exotic fruits whilst also including an impressive range of produce including meat, cheese and dairy, seafood, herbs, spices and tropical wines. Nowhere else in Australia will you find such a diverse and tantalising range of tropical produce
and culture.

The festival includes tours to growers and producers across the Cassowary Coast with two food trails, gala dinner, food and wine tastings and displays culminating in the Sunday ‘River Feast’, a day of tropical and exotic fruit displays, food vendors, market stalls, music and entertainment, children’s activities at the Feast of Fun Kid Zone, a celebrity chef and cooking stage. The event will be staged in Innisfail’s town centre, in the Canecutter Court, and along the riverfront on the banks of the picturesque Johnstone River. The town’s historic art deco buildings and tropical palm trees provide a festival backdrop like no other.

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 The region boasts a vast array of tropical and exotic fruits which have been collected over the past 30-years from all corners of the tropical world. Combine this with the many ethnic cultures in the region and the unique concentration of Innisfail’s Art Deco architecture, 

Feast of the Senses celebrates everything that makes this part of the world unique.

 The 2021 festival begins with a tropical cocktail cruise on the scenic Johnstone River at sunset, on Thursday 15th April. Local tour operators, Snapping Tours, will provide an array of tropical taste sensations. Enjoy a sumptuous selection of delicious cocktails and mocktails made with our local rare & exotic fruits. This is also a great experience for photographers and tourists alike, with plenty of opportunities for those scenic sunset photographs. Cruise the gorgeous Johnstone River in a relaxed and happy atmosphere. You’ll be welcomed aboard at 5pm and set sail at 5.30pm. Bookings are available through the Snapping Tours website and at just $40.00 per person is a great deal.

On Friday night, the Gala Dinner will be held at the elegant, art deco era, Johnstone Shire Hall in Rankin Street in Innisfail. This event will feature a stunning feast of the senses provided by Roscoes Piazza supported by students from Good Counsel College. There will be an innovative menu showcasing a variety of fresh produce from the local area. Entertainment will be provided on the night with a cash bar operating. Tickets are available from the Feast of the Senses website at $75.00pp. Ticket sales are limited so don’t miss out on this fabulous event.

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Saturday 17th April will see the second of the food trails depart at 8.30am. The Southern Food Trail, sponsored by local transport company Trans North Bus and Coach, will visit ‘Fish for Dogs’, an innovative new local business, Ninney Rise, an historic heritage-listed house using locally made bricks and locally sourced bamboo. Enjoy morning tea in picturesque tropical grounds before visiting ‘Fruit Forest Farm’ in the afternoon, a tropical fruit farm growing a variety of rare and exotic fruits. Lunch is also included on this great day out with tickets available on the Feast website.

The Sunday features River Feast a selection of food vans and stalls, serving local produce ready to eat, as well as artisanal food and products from across the region to take home at the end of the day which include bottled sauces, herbs, spices and condiments. Local coffees and teas will also be available, along with jams and chutneys, exotic fruit products, wines and beverages. Almost anything that can be made from our rare and exotic fruits and local produce will be available on the day.

There is a feast of entertainment on the day, including our Celebrity Chef on the Canecutter Cooking Stage, sponsored by Oasis Magazine. Local Councillor, Kylie Farinelli, also known for her participation in the television cooking show ‘Zumbo’s Just Desserts’, will dazzle us with her culinary skills. See our amazing celebrity chef whip up some tasty treats during the day, using our freshest local produce, as well as compere the local celebrity cooking competition, featuring some of Innisfail’s most well-recognised and notorious identities. There’ll be some great fun to be had watching this competition!

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