27 Mar 2024

Regional South Australia to score big during AFL Gather Round


Gatherings at South Australia’s renowned wineries, long lunches showcasing the state’s fresh produce, and world-class spirit ‘showdowns’ are just some of the Footy Festival events on offer across SA during this year’s AFL Gather Round.
Tourism operators across six regions will capitalise on the influx of visitors to South Australia for the four-day footy festival, inviting them to discover the best of the state’s renowned hospitality at more than 35 events on offer.
The program encourages visitors to get into the footy festivities, including special offers for those donning their footy gear at the likes of Two Hands in Barossa and Swell Brewing in Fleurieu Peninsula.
The Footy Festival is another way the State Government through the South Australian Tourism Commission is extending the benefits of this blockbuster major event to the regions and driving valuable tourism dollars into regional communities.
One of the events on offer is The Gathering at Sidewood, which will see footy fans and festivalgoers head to the Hills for an evening of award-winning beverages, DJ, and gourmet food in a family-friendly atmosphere. The Gathering at Sidewood will be held on Friday, 5 April at 4pm-10pm at Sidewood Estate in Hahndorf.
More than 40,000 people from interstate attended last year’s AFL Gather Round, with more than half of those travelling to South Australia by road.
In its inaugural year, the AFL Gather Round generated more than 25,000 visitor nights outside of Adelaide with the match in Mount Barker helping inject $2 million into the Adelaide Hills economy alone.
The footy fever has already been taking over regional South Australia thanks to the Gather Round Community Footy Roadshow. Kicking off earlier this month, the roadshow is travelling to more than 30 regional towns across 21 days, covering more than 4,000 kilometres across South Australia.
The Roadshow spectacle returns to towns such as Renmark in the Riverland and Mount Gambier in the Limestone Coast. This year, the Roadshow will visit many new destinations, including first visits to Kangaroo Island and the Barossa.
Explore the Footy Festival events at https://southaustralia.com/whats-on/afl-gather-round/festival-of-footy.
The 2023 AFL Gather Round contributed more than $83 million to the South Australian economy, generated over 150,000 visitor nights, and saw 268,000 fans attend matches.
Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison said the awesome lineup of events as part of the Footy Festival is helping extend the benefits of the AFL Gather Round to the state’s regions as operators across South Australia get set to capitalise on the increase in visitation.
“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,” Minister Bettison said.
“With more than 35 footy inspired events on across six of our tourism regions, from the Barossa to the Limestone Coast, there is no doubt this year’s AFL Gather Round will be bigger and better.”
Sidewood Brand Ambassador Serena Moorghen said 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,” Ms Moorghen said.
“Last year, the games in Mount Barker showcased a bar that included our award-winning estate wines alongside a number of our friends and neighbours in the wine world which highlighted the exceptional quality we have on offer.
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.”