In its 14th year, the Australian Banana Packing Competition has concluded being deemed its biggest year yet.
The iconic event is the only contest of its type that showcases the banana industry packing skills.
During the contest each team is given two bunches of bananas which they must cut and pack into three cartons. Competitors are given scores from five judges on all aspects of packing including presentation, speed, team work and wastage.
Judging for the Banana Exhibit took place on July 13, following an official weigh-in the night before and the banana packing championships were held on the night of July 14.
As the event draws more tourists each year, event organiser, Jade Buchanan, said it’s proven to be one of the most popular events at Innisfail’s annual show.
“On the Friday night of the finals the grandstands were filled to capacity with a very large contingent of international backpackers who cheer and chant and lift the roof at the Banana Exhibit area. It is a very exciting atmosphere and seems to get more vocal each year,” she said.
“The event was the brainchild of several local Innisfail growers who thought the process of banana packing was so unique that it would be fantastic to showcase this process to the public. The original event was such a success they held it again the following year and it has grown in popularity each year ever since.
“Last year the contest received international exposure after a highlights video of the event went viral, reaching more than 20,000 people via the ABGC’s Facebook page.”
Each year the main event sees 12 teams of two. Six from the Innisfail area and six from Tully. The teams compete over two nights and the fastest three teams go into the grand final.
The main championship winners were Scott Solien and Avi Solien from Tully. Scott and Avi won by just eight points and only one point separated second place from third.
The backpacker competition winners were Elen Williams, Wales UK, and Jill de Graaf, Belgium.