Gather Round

Epic line up of regional lunches, parties and events planned for Gather Round

Gatherings at SA’s renowned wineries, long lunches, and world-class spirit ‘showdowns’ are just some of the Footy Festival events on offer across SA during this year’s AFL Gather Round.

Image: Sidewood

Regional South Australia is poised to reap the rewards of AFL Gather Round as the state gears up for a four-day footy festival extravaganza. With a plethora of events spanning across six regions, visitors will have the opportunity to indulge in the finest offerings of South Australia’s hospitality.

From gatherings at renowned wineries to leisurely long lunches showcasing the state’s fresh produce, and spirited ‘showdowns’, the Footy Festival promises a diverse array of experiences for attendees. Over 35 events are slated to take place, with tourism operators rolling out the welcome mat for footy enthusiasts and foodies alike.

“The awesome lineup of events as part of the Footy Festival is helping extend the benefits of the AFL Gather Round to our state’s regions as operators across South Australia get set to capitalise on the increase in visitation,” Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison, says.

“I am so excited for visitors to and from our state to experience how we get behind our major events and my goal is to encourage them to discover some of our incredible tourism offerings in a new way.”

As part of the festivities, special incentives await those sporting their footy gear, encouraging patrons to immerse themselves in the footy spirit while enjoying the offerings of establishments like Two Hands in Barossa and Swell Brewing in Fleurieu Peninsula.

The Footy Festival isn’t just about entertainment; it’s also about bolstering regional economies. Supported by the State Government and the South Australian Tourism Commission, the event aims to channel valuable tourism dollars into regional communities, providing a significant economic boost.

Among the highlights is ‘The Gathering at Sidewood’, an evening affair set amidst the picturesque Hills. Offering award-winning beverages, live DJ sets, and gourmet fare, this family-friendly event promises an unforgettable experience for attendees. The Gathering at Sidewood will take place on Friday 5 April at Sidewood Estate in Hahndorf.

“Having events like AFL Gather Round in the Adelaide Hills creates a new buzz of energy for our region. We have so much to offer and being able to show off our products and regional beauty to a larger audience is always a pleasure,” Serena Moorghen, Sidewood Brand Ambassador, says.

“At Sidewood, we’re incredibly proud of what we do and the spaces we’ve created in our venue which can be enjoyed by guests from all over, whether it’s a family gathering to couples with a special anniversary – or even getting into the footy festivities with all your friends.”

Last year, AFL Gather Round drew over 40,000 interstate visitors, with more than half opting for a road trip to South Australia. The inaugural event generated over 25,000 visitor nights outside of Adelaide, injecting millions into regional economies, including $2 million into the Adelaide Hills alone.

The footy fever has been spreading across regional South Australia, thanks to the Gather Round Community Footy Roadshow. Covering more than 4,000 kilometres and visiting over 30 regional towns, the roadshow aims to engage communities and build excitement ahead of the main event.

Returning to familiar locales like Renmark and Mount Gambier, as well as venturing into new territories such as Kangaroo Island and the Barossa, the roadshow promises to reach even more eager fans.

With the 2023 AFL Gather Round contributing significantly to the state’s economy, generating over $83 million and attracting 268,000 fans to matches, expectations are high for another successful event this year.

For those eager to partake in the festivities, a full list of Footy Festival events can be found here.

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