Festival volunteer steps into the spotlight

Granite Belt Growers’ Association president, Angus Ferrier, Young Ambassador entrant, Jordan Cassidy, and Apple and Grape Harvest Festival president Russell Wantling.

Young Ambassador entrant Jordan Cassidy is looking forward to experiencing the Apple and Grape 2022 Festival in a different role, after working behind the scenes of the Apple and Grape Harvest Festival for many years.

Jordan has been a festival volunteer for many years, alongside her grandmother Annette Brown, the festival’s volunteer co-ordinator, and grandfather Bill, the grand parade marshal.

“I’ve been running back and forth with the parade, helping Annette with volunteers all over the place, and one year I rode in the car with [Better Homes and Garden chef] Fast Ed,” Jordan said.

“I’ve wanted to be a Young Ambassador since I was 16 and when the chance came along, I thought ‘why not?’

“I want to give back to the community and hold fun events to raise money for the Apple and Grape.”

Jordan is also looking forward to working with her sponsor, the Granite Belt Growers’ Association (GBBA), to highlight the expanding range of fruit and vegetables grown in the region.

GBGA president, Angus Ferrier, said the grower group was happy to support an enthusiastic and energetic Young Ambassador such as Jordan.

“The GBGA is always keen to promote the role that the Granite Belt plays as a major supplier of fruit and vegetables for Australian consumers,” he said.

GBGA was formed in late 2018 and now represents almost 60 growers, industry participants, suppliers, and service providers.

“The Granite Belt is a critical summer-crop producing region for Australia, including leafy vegetables and fruits, and an emerging berry producing hub, on top of the biggest industry in the area, which is of course apples,” Mr Ferrier said.

“I think people have under-estimated the size of the industry here and the important role we play in summer production.”

Mr Ferrier said one of the reasons the GBGA was happy to support Jordan in the Young Ambassador competition is because the Apple and Grape Harvest Festival is a primary-industry focussed event.

“A lot of Jordan’s events will include promotion of local produce and we see that as a great part of the work that we do,” he said.

Apple and Grape Harvest Festival president, Russell Wantling, said that celebrating the region’s horticultural industry was a the heart of the festival.

“For that to be recognised by the Granite Belt Growers Group by agreeing to be a sponsor of a young ambassador just ticks every box,” he said.

“Angus and his group are doing such amazing work for our region and we are so pleased to be able to help showcase their work.

“After the worst drought in living history, it is so important to remind our visitors the amazing produce that this region delivers.”

Mr Wantling said Jordan’s passion for the Apple and Grape Harvest Festival was undeniable.

“Volunteering with her grandparents from a young age, she saw how important the festival is to this region and her desire to help in a new arena is commendable.”