The Narooma Chamber of Commerce instigated the Narooma Oyster Festival all those years ago as a signature experience for oyster lovers, particularly from outside the area, and to brand Narooma as a destination. And now it was back for 2017 realising those same goals.
Overwhelmingly the feedback has been positive and as someone who attended all the events, I too can say it was a great festival that entertained visitors and locals alike. Friday’s night concert and fireworks was especially well received, other than perhaps by the local hounds, no doubt because it was free and inclusive.
The Narooma Oyster Festival weekend was also a chance to promote Narooma as a destination, with the Narooma Oyster Festival committee hosting a number of travel and food writers. These visitors got a quick tour of Montague Island on Saturday morning, taking in the natural beauty of the area and it was a pleasure to go along with them to explain some of the local features and attractions.
Chef Colin Barker of the The Boathouse in Blackwattle Bay, Sydney also came along before doing his cooking demonstration in the afternoon. A keen fisherman himself, he enjoyed seeing the locations of where some of his fresh seafood originated from.
While the festival is all about raising the profile of the oyster industry and Narooma as a tourism destination, the event turned out to be a great day for the local families.
A big well done to Batemans Bay oyster grower Jim Yiannaros has taken out the Narooma Oyster Festival shucking contest for a third successive year. Here he is pictured with the shucking contest trophy and his granddaughter Poppy Vlasia holding the medal.
In a tight run contest, Jim made to the finals where he competed against Gerard Dennis of Australia’s Oyster Coast and Greg Carton of Broadwaters Oysters at Pambula, who finished second and third respectively. Mr Yiannaros before Saturday’s contest had promised to retire if he was victorious for a third time, but now he is having second thoughts due a rivalry shaping up with his former prodigy Mr Dennis.
“I taught him to open oysters back when he worked with us of Batemans Bay Oysters and before he went on to become operations manager at Australia’s Oyster Coast,” he said. “Now he wants a rematch, so I am not sure I can retire as I need to show him who is boss again.”