Weekend’s Festival sets oyster record

Over 23,000 oysters were eaten at Narooma Oyster Festival on Saturday.

‘That’s a lot of oysters and sets a Festival record, but probably more exciting is the impact this Festival is having,’ said a delighted Narooma Chamber of Commerce President Niels Bendixsen.

‘We’ve had absolutely fantastic feedback from the community already, from visitors and from industry leaders recognising it as a high quality Festival focused on south coast oysters and other local produce.

‘Sydney rock oysters are the region’s classic indigenous food.’

This year a contingent of leading food and travel writers were invited through Destination NSW.

They arrived by seaplane on Friday afternoon and, after a welcome at Quarterdeck, went on to a reception at The Whale with the Festival’s chefs, seafood industry leaders, local producers including oyster farmers, Member for Eden Monaro Dr Mike Kelly, Member for Bega Andrew Constance, other dignitaries and key sponsors.

A very productive working dinner followed – A Taste of the South Coast – where the media met and interviewed local producers.

After a quick visit to Montague Island after breakfast on Saturday, they spent the rest of their time at the Festival.

‘Their visit has been a huge success and will bring considerable benefits to the branding of Narooma and Montague Island as quality tourism destinations,’ Mr Bendixsen said.

Festival committee member Cath Peachey said feedback from the celebrity chefs and other seafood industry leaders has been ‘sensational’.

‘They see the Festival as a really unique event with enormous potential,’ she said.

‘They were so impressed many have already said they would like to be part of it next year. To get this kind of feedback from such key industry people is gold.’

Friday night’s free community concert and fireworks made a great launching pad for the Festival the next day.

‘The cooking demonstrations with our celebrity chefs were full, the Ultimate Oyster Experience sold out, and the tent for the shucking competition was overflowing, and the musical line-up was great,’ Mr Bendixsen said.

He paid tribute to the Festival organising committee who had worked tirelessly for over five months to bring the Festival back and inject new life into it incorporating many suggestions from past Festivals.

They were assisted by Impact Exhibitions and Events who organised most of the site infrastructure and entertainment.

Mr Bendixsen also thanks all the sponsors whose assistance was vital for the Festival’s success.

Narooma Chamber of Commerce instigated the Oyster Festival as a signature experience for oyster lovers, particularly from outside the area, and to brand Narooma as a destination.

Above: Farewell to to the Narooma Oyster Festival 2017 visitors.

Narooma Chamber of Commerce President Niels Bendixsen (back right) received Festival accolades from celebrity chefs Colin Barker of The Boathouse in Sydney (far left) and Dave Campbell of Wharf Road in Nowra (front), key food and travel writers and Destination NSW as they left Narooma on Saturday afternoon. Seaplane charter courtesy Merivale.

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