Outback Qld comes to life with Australia’s largest sapphire exhibition
The increasingly popular Festival of Gems – Gemfest – has seen a record number of visitors attending its annual four-day event in the stunning Sapphire Gemfields, Central Queensland. Held 10-13th August 2017, Australia’s premier gemstone exhibition drew 7,000 people to the otherwise quiet rural town of Anakie. Now in its 30th year, the festival has built up a reputation as one of the nation’s most popular celebrations of sapphires and gems.
Visitors from all over the country travelled to this unique event to enjoy the spectacular Jewels of the Outback exhibition, a stunning showcase of jewellery and gems from private collections, many only on display at Gemfest. The festival celebrates everything that sparkles, from sapphires to diamonds, pearls, zircons and opals to gold, crystals, fossils and minerals.
The festival’s highlight was the newly introduced ‘The Legend and The Locals Tour’, giving Legend and Female Artist of the Year, Sara Storer, and local talent the opportunity to perform live in front of record-breaking numbers. Local country music singer songwriter Kalesti Butler kicked off the show as Sara’s support act while country artist Brad Butcher played songs from his new album From the Bottom of the Well. The Saturday Night Spectacular was also well attended with its live entertainment and impressive fireworks display.
‘This year’s event exceeded all our expectations and, with more than 6,000 travelling from far and wide to attend, it was an affirmation of Gemfest’s appeal to an ever-increasing audience. We’ve already started planning for next year’s festival to be even bigger and better.
Kalesti Butler | Gemfest Coordinator
Speakers included Gemfest President Dave Bezzett, MP Ken O’Dowd Federal Member for Flynn and Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor Kerry Hayes who started the celebrations with the cutting of the ribbon. This Gemfest also marked the official opening of the Sapphire Gemfields’ Interpretive Trail which will draw more visitors to this beautiful region.