If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, what sort of extraordinary health benefits are to be derived from thousands and thousands of those little green marvels? That’s something that all of Eastwood will be pondering come the 17th of October, as the north-western suburb plays host to the Granny Smith Festival.
This annual celebration is devoted to the memory of Maria Ann ‘Granny’ Smith, an Englishwoman who was born in 1799 and immigrated to Sydney in 1838. Residing in what is now Eastwood, it was in 1868 that she accidentally invented the apple cultivar that bears her name. Although she never made any money from her discovery, it was no doubt a consolation when a festival in her honour was inaugurated in 1985- or at least it would have been, had she not died 115 years earlier. If only she'd eaten more of her product, she might have lived to see it.
While she may no longer be with us, it is indisputable that Granny would heartily approve of this year’s program. Proceedings will begin at 10am with the Grand Parade. Traditionally led by the New South Wales Mounted Police, the parade includes the crowning of the Festival Queen (who becomes, at least for the next 12 months, the apple of Eastwood’s eye). Throughout the day, there will be live entertainment, rides, contests, sports and about 300 stalls to keep attendees amused, before a fireworks display illuminates the night. Even if this year’s festival doesn’t assume the national significance that 2007’s did, history suggests that it will be lots of fun- as these photos show.