Community & Business

19 August, 2023

Maize Festival springs back

THE beloved Atherton Maize Festival is having a resurgence after a five year hiatus, celebrating the rich agricultural community on the Tablelands.

Maize Festival springs back - feature photo

Since its inception in the 1960s, the iconic festival has symbolised the harvest season on the Tablelands, shining a spotlight on the rich agricultural heritage that defines Atherton and its surrounding region.

This year, a team of four determined women have assumed the roles of committee members, preparing for the festival's upcoming major events, including the Maize Ball and street parade. 

Committee member Sarina Norris expressed her excitement for the revival of the local attraction that used to be an annual highlight for her. 

Under the banner of "Farm Life," this year's festival theme serves as a tribute to the important role of Tablelands agriculture. 

“We (the committee) have decided to kick if off again and take it back to what it used to be about, which is farming,” she said. 

This year, four young ladies have stepped up for the Maize Festival Queen’s quest, going out into the community to promote themselves, their charities and the festival. 

The 2023 quest participants include Lillian Caufield, Madison Morey, Regan Bonadio and Grace Duck-Heard.

Hoping to foster confidence and connections for the girls, Ms Norris said the quest was unique to many others. 

“It’s not all about beauty. We are doing it for the girls and so far, we have had a lady come in and talk to them about mindset and coping with stress and to take time to enjoy being a queen entrant,” she said. 

“You don’t need to be stress about it, have fun and raise money for a good cause. We have also helped a few girls looking for a job by pointing them in the right direction.

“So, we are just trying to help them get out they’re into the community and into society.” 

The quest participants have already begun their journey by engaging with the community during events like Carinya Day. 

Interacting with residents at Carinya Home for the Aged, residents shared cherished memories of past festivals and their fondness for Atherton living. 

“It was emotional and happy at the same time because the girls made a connection with a lot of the older people,” Mr Norris said. 

“They gave them hugs and waves when they left, and it was a really cool moment for all of us.”

The entrants presented their speeches at a high tea event over the weekend, introducing themselves and their charitable endeavours to the community. 

As the excitement continues to build, the Maize Ball scheduled for 26 August at the Rocky Creek Igloo promises to be an evening of elegance. 

Attendees will enjoy a cocktail hour, canapés, live music by the local band Winging It, complimentary beer and wine, and a three-course Greek Street Food dinner.

On 9 September, Main Street Atherton will transform into a vibrant spectacle during the street parade as businesses and organisations showcase their floats fit to the theme of “farm life”. 

The grand finale will include the crowning of the maize festival queen, followed by a tug of war, dance performances, and an array of food stalls.

“It is just cool to know the community is wanting to do things like this and get involved,” Ms Norris said. 

“It’s pretty exciting and nerve wracking at the same time because our biggest thing at the moment is the hurdle with all the rules and regulations to make sure everyone is safe throughout the festival.

“So hopefully next year we can bring in some more grants and make the festival bigger and better than ever.”

Tickets for the ball are available at and for more information, go to the Atherton Maize Festival Facebook page. 


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