The Childers Festival had modest beginnings in 1996 as a “Food and Wine Festival” that attracted 5,000 people. The timing of the event was selected as the last weekend in July, as it was a drier time of year, and did not collide with other major events in the region.
The following year the Bruce Highway was closed to accommodate the event, and the crowd immediately doubled. More stages, more performers and more stalls were added to the festival and the number of people coming to the Childers Festival increased annually. The festival grew to gradually claim Crescent Street, where the main stage was eventually moved to.
As the event developed, more power outlets were strategically placed along the main street so that a greater number and variety of food vendors could be successfully incorporated into the festival. As the event changed, so did the names, and the Childers Food and Wine Festival became known as the Childers Multicultural Festival, before being renamed the Childers Festival of Cultures in 2006. Nancy Calder coordinated the event from 1996 until 2011.
Today it is simply known as the Childers Festival, and has established itself as a major cultural event on the Queensland and Australian Events Calendar. Attracting crowds of over 50,000 people, the event runs over two days and is now coordinated by Bundaberg Regional Council with the assistance of a local committee. The most popular day of the festival is the Sunday, which features over 400 stalls with an incredible range of wares, delicious cuisine from all around the world and five stages of non-stop multicultural entertainment.