Narooma Oyster Festival all set for weekend

IT’S all ‘go’ for this weekend’s Narooma Oyster Festival with Saturday’s Natural Gourmet Fair in Quota Park and Sunday’s Narooma on Show.

OYSTER WORK: Oyster farming on Wagonga Inlet – David Maidment and Ian Hoskins - is one of the photos in the “Faces of Australia’s Oyster Coast – a photographic exhibition by Heide Smith” that will be on show at the festival. Photo by Heide Smith with more at www.heidesmith.com

OYSTER WORK: Oyster farming on Wagonga Inlet – David Maidment and Ian Hoskins - is one of the photos in the “Faces of Australia’s Oyster Coast – a photographic exhibition by Heide Smith” that will be on show at the festival. Photo by Heide Smith with more at www.heidesmith.com

NAROOMA GROWERS: While oysters have been procured from up the coast, Narooma growers David Maidment and John Ritchie are keeping fingers crossed that Wagonga oysters will be available for the Narooma Oyster Festival.

NAROOMA GROWERS: While oysters have been procured from up the coast, Narooma growers David Maidment and John Ritchie are keeping fingers crossed that Wagonga oysters will be available for the Narooma Oyster Festival.

WELCOME DANCES: Narooma Oyster Festival will officially open at 10.45 with a Welcome to Country and the Gulaga and Djaadjawan Dancers. Photo courtesy Warren Purnell

WELCOME DANCES: Narooma Oyster Festival will officially open at 10.45 with a Welcome to Country and the Gulaga and Djaadjawan Dancers. Photo courtesy Warren Purnell

FESTIVAL FUN: This weekend’s Narooma Oyster Festival starts with Saturday’s Natural Gourmet Fair in Quota Park.

FESTIVAL FUN: This weekend’s Narooma Oyster Festival starts with Saturday’s Natural Gourmet Fair in Quota Park.

“We’ve got a great program and the response has been fabulous, so again it’s shaping up to be a terrific festival,” Gourmet Fair coordinator Garry Ebbeling said.

Accommodation is filling “steadily” with some places already fully booked.

Mr Ebbeling said recent heavy rain from the Shoalhaven to the Victorian border had obviously impacted on plans to have oysters at the festival from all eight of Australia’s Oyster Coast oyster producing estuaries.

“However, we have contingency plans in place to ensure plenty of oysters are available at the Festival should they be required,” he said.

“We were hoping to showcase oysters from all South Coast estuaries but some estuaries may not be able to reopen in time for the festival.

“We will know definitively once we get the results from the water testing which was done over the last two days.”

Everything is on track for a great celebration of the South Coast’s quality produce and culinary and artistic talents, with something for everyone from fine foodies to families.

Festival spokesperson Cath Peachey said there is a lot of interest this year from Sydney and Canberra, especially among members of the Chinese community.

“This should also have flow on benefits to tourism in this area,” she said.

The chefs from three of the coast’s “Hatted” restaurants are looking forward to demonstrating some of their favourite dishes on Saturday.

“It’s wonderful to feature our region’s finest chefs,” cooking demonstration coordinator Debbie Pakis of Moruya TAFE said.

“They are passionate about sourcing fresh local produce directly from producers, and bring a real south coast flavour to their restaurants.”

Not to be missed is the first public showing of the stunning “Faces of Australia’s Oyster Coast – a photographic exhibition by Heide Smith”, which will be displayed in one of the boatsheds within the Gourmet Fair precinct.

Most oyster farmers from Australia’s Oyster Coast will be at the Festival on Saturday for the launch of Australia’s Oyster Coast Oyster Trail, which will be a great boost for food tourism on South Coast NSW.

Entries in the Oyster Shucking Competition are still coming in - forms on website - with an opening demonstration beforehand by industry experts.

Tickets for the Ultimate Oyster Experience Master Tasting Class at The Inlet Restaurant have sold out.

The festival also offers other food apart from oysters, with many food stalls focussed on the gourmet end of the market.

On Saturday, the Club Narooma Live Music Stage features some of our talented local musicians followed by Sydney’s top soul band Johnny G and the E-Types.

Limited tickets are still available for the Australia’s Oyster Coast Festival Dinner at Narooma Golf Club and the Tastes of the South Coast dinner at The Whale Restaurant - get in quick!

The festival is designed to also appeal to families, with free entry for children under 16, provided they are accompanied by a paying adult. Entertainment once inside the Gourmet Fair precinct, including the Lighthouse Surgery’s Kids’ Zone, is free.

Other attractions include a giant kite exhibition and workshop.

The fun continues on Sunday, with the Poet Society Brunch in Quota Park, a continuation of the stunning Heide Smith photographic exhibition, and the Australia’s Oyster Coast Ambrose Golf Classic.

The program is on the website www.naroomaoysterfestival.com