TasteFest 2018

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Phil Grisold, John Lenton, Hamish McDonald, Peter Bolte and Toby Uglow are some of the hardworking individuals behind TasteFest 2018 – an event which will showcase marvellous food and beverages from around the region on January 13. Sip, sup and savour your way through this amazing day with your friends and family …

TasteFest on the Manning will be celebrated on January 13, 2018. Where will it be held this year?

The Queen Elizabeth Park ​foreshore​ was extremely popular at our ​2017 ​​TasteFest, so we are holding TasteFest 2018 in the same location. We will open an additional entry at the Sailos end (Macquarie St) of the park this year, which makes three entrances, including Pulteney/River Streets and Manning St entrances.​

It’s a 10am start, ​and we​ will​ be open one extra hour later this year, with all vendors, entertainment and music ​lining up until 9pm.​

The ethos of TasteFest has always been to showcase regional producers. How important is it to continue this trend?

We always give first priority for early bird registrations to local and regional producers, but it’s also important to have a variety of unique and excellent vendors from around NSW.

W​hile​ TasteFest is a large event with opportunities for many vendors, it’s just not possible to have all the local vendors able to attend at that time of year​ (some of them actually take a well earned break)​, so we also​ have some exciting new regional vendors attending and​ in some cases​, local produce ​is ​being sold or included in recipes by ​the ​visiting vendors. This helps to keep the focus on our lovely Manning Valley.

We would ​always love to see the numbers of local and regional producers attending TasteFest continue to ​grow. We are excited that both Stones Oysters and Manning Valley Beef will be available in the licensed area on the park this year, so you can enjoy a taste with your wine and boutique beer.

What’s the entertainment line up this year?

Staging expert Hamish McDonald from Aurora FX has put together an exciting line up for 2018: popular local duo Brunette Mischief are back with a brand new line up that includes Jono B, Hudson Rose, India Sedden, Family Dog Express, Trio Coidroy Cargo, Lexi Jade, Hamish White, Michael Clare, Matt West, Lu Quade, and to finish the evening off in style, the popular band​​ Byren. The music sessions will be 30 minute sets across the whole day.

What will be happening in the demonstration tent this year?

We were surprised by the success of these sessions at the inaugural event! A new location and a full programme has been organised by Peter Bolte and Monique Cahill. We will have some fun cooking demonstrations, plus interesting topics about produce. Check out the website for more information closer to the 13th January. Local celebrity chefs Neil MacKenzie (Mansfield on the Manning) and Julie-Ann Booth (Centrepoint Café) will be on stage, as well as Donna Carrier from the multi award winning Bent On Food.

Who are some of your exhibitors?

Our locals were the first to grab a spot after experiencing such a great day last year. Bottled Culture is always interesting to taste, and Ilias the Greek will be back to dance with us and share the fun. A new local Indian vendor will be attending, plus Ishiks famous Turkish food.

Brand new local craft beer producer Coastal Brewery will be on the park, and our favourite Great Lakes Paddocks will be joined by other local and regional wineries. Local vendor Cracklin Woodfired Pizzas are joining us for the first time, as are Little Tilleys Coffee and Gelato!

We also have some exciting new visiting vendors, like Pimp My Chimney ​and​ Cebu Chew. Popular regional stalls from 2017 returning are Little Laos Kitchen, Seeqa Ethiopian Food, Freshly Berried​ and popular local Saxby’s Soft Drinks, in combination with Hastings Cooperative. We have over 60 vendors booked in!​

What activities will be available for kiddies?

TasteFest is a family friendly event, with something for all ages. Our children’s entertainment will be bigger and better on January 13th, with a hands on petting zoo, reptile display, Troppo Bob!, MidCoast Rides with the tea cup, clown, and fairy floss, Passion4Fun and the always popular Fancy Face Painting and Body Art by Raeshel.

Whom would you like to thank for making this year’s TasteFest possible?

Our volunteers and our sponsors! Taree Lions Club cannot run a large event like this without many additional volunteers on the committee and on the day of the event. Our major sponsors this year are: Club Taree (Food Sponsor), the Water Authority at MidCoast Council (the merged MidCoast Water), NAB Bank, GPB Partners Accountants & Business Advisors, live coverage of the event by major sponsor MaxFM/2RE, Rob and Kylie Chapman from Ray White Manning Valley.

Additional ​local businesses ​have also offered us great support in a variety of helpful ways – too many to mention here.​​

Where can we find out further info?

​TasteFest 2018 is a community charity event powered by over 100 ​volunteers, so we encourage people to make a ​gold coin ​donation at the entry ​gate. ​All donations will go to Can Assist Manning Valley and Ronald McDonald Family Retreat – Forster. Our Facebook page is growing and a great way to keep up to date with the event: https://www.facebook.com/tastefest/

Our TasteFest 2018 website is also a good resource ​for details on the program, ​plus we are listed on major event sites such as Destination NSW.

Final say …

2017 ​Tastefest was successful in providing much needed infrastructure, repairs and improvements to the Taree Women and Children’s Refuge (Samaritans Organisation). We hope to replicate this effort for Can Assist  Manning Valley and Ronald McDonald Family Retreat – Forster. A big thank you to Taree Lions Club and our marvellous volunteer community, service club members and local business members, who have worked tirelessly to bring the event to life again in 2018!

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