This year’s Narooma Oyster Festival (Friday 3 rd and Saturday 4 th May) is shaping up to be a huge celebration. Festival spokesperson Cath Peachey said nine live music acts are locked in as well as award winning chefs, and organisers have been overwhelmed by the response from gourmet food vendors, boutique winemakers and craft brewers.
Above: Kelly Eastwood and Evan and Wade WoolhouseChef and TV food stylist Kelly Eastwood will again host this year’s NaroomaOyster Festival cooking demonstrations with some of the country’s finest chefs.Seen here at the 2018 Festival with Evan and Wade Woolhouse of Wheeler’sRestaurant at Merimbula. This year’s event builds on the success of recent Oyster Festivals in putting Narooma and the far south coast on the national gourmet map. “Narooma Chamber of Commerce instigated the Oyster Festival 12 years ago as the town’s key marketing event to showcase Narooma as both a destination and as a place to live,” she said. “It’s since expanded into a significant regional event. “It attracts fine foodies and families from the ACT, Sydney, the Hunter, the Illawarra and Shoalhaven; last year 60% of Festival visitors lived outside Eurobodalla Shire and over 20% came from the Moruya and Batemans Bay areas. “We hold it in May to boost the local economy at a traditionally quiet time of year and when the oysters are in good condition; last year, the Festival put an estimated $750,000 directly into the local economy. “The widespread marketing of the Festival and of Narooma, endorsements by media and food industry leaders, and the publicity the Festival generates is absolutely huge, reaching millions of people. “The value of that exposure last year was calculated to be over a million dollars; our media coverage even extended to the United Kingdom and Ireland.” The Festival kicks off on Friday evening (3 rd May) with free entertainment as a warm up to Saturday’s main event. “There’s live music until 10pm, including nine-piece party band Big Boss Groove, and a fantastic fireworks display over the water,” she said. “There’ll be market stalls and kids’ rides. “For those who can’t wait for the gourmet experience, Friday has the new separately ticketed ‘long table dinner’.” Saturday features cooking demonstrations by some of the country’s finest chefs, Oyster Alley with oysters from up to eight Oyster Coast estuaries, fire pit cooking of traditional bush tucker by local Yuin people, market stalls highlighting the best of south coast produce, and a full day of live music headlined by popular band 19- Twenty. The popular Ultimate Oyster Experience has been expanded and tickets are selling fast online. Saturday gate tickets are $20 with kids under 16 free, with free rides within the Festival precinct for younger kids. “This year Australian National Events is organising site infrastructure and entertainment which takes an enormous load off the volunteer Festival committee,” she said.