FIGURES show the Narooma Oyster Festival continues to grow with the organising committee using feedback received this year to build next year’s event – April 5-6.
“We work hard to continue to raise the standard and the 2013 Festival really hit new highs,” festival spokesperson Cath Peachey said.
“The festival was originally instigated by the Chamber of Commerce to boost our local economy by attracting overnight and short stay visitors at a quieter time of year, and to showcase to them our fabulous seafood and many attractions, things many locals often take for granted.
“We want the festival to be a signature experience in our iconic location that encourages people to return and stay longer. Feedback shows it’s working.”
About 75 per cent of people this year came from outside the 2546 postcode with about half of those from interstate, mostly Canberra.
For almost 60 per cent of people, it was their first time at the Festival.
Almost 100 per cent of people surveyed said they would return and spend more time in the region.
“What’s more, the festival contributed over $460,000 directly into the local economy that weekend, a figure determined using an accepted government formula,” Ms Peachy said.
“We’re also very excited with the strong link the festival now has with South Coast oyster growers following the launch of their new brand ‘Australia’s Oyster Coast’ at this year’s festival by NSW Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson.
“This takes the festival to a new level as a regional festival showcasing Australia’s Oyster Coast oysters and their growers from eight South Coast estuaries, not only Wagonga Inlet, and boosts the area's reputation for quality sustainable produce.
“It’s also a great opportunity to showcase the area’s artistic and cultural talents, including those of our Aboriginal community.”
Ms Peachey said while particularly aimed at people outside the area, the festival was also about engaging our community and building community pride.
“The Festival also provides great value for locals with free kids’ entry for kids accompanied by an adult, free kids’ rides and entertainment, cooking demonstrations and great music all day,” she said.
She paid tribute to local businesses, community group and volunteers who support the festival, and particularly thanked Leanne Lucas and her team of volunteers from the University of Wollongong’s Batemans Bay campus who conducted the survey at the festival.