TasteFest on the Manning

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Prepare to sup, dine, wine and be entertained on the banks of the Manning River on 14th January, as the inaugural TasteFest on the Manning event kicks into high gear! This family friendly event promises a great day out for everyone. Phil Grisold (President Taree Lions Club), John Lenton (Chairman of TasteFest Committee), and Tony Cowan (Lions Board Member and Co-entertainment Organiser for TasteFest) drop by to tell us more about the event …

Please explain how the idea of the new festival, TasteFest on the Manning, came about?

The Manning and surrounds is fast becoming a hub of locally sourced, fresh and delicious produce and food products – we needed an event that could celebrate this and also showcase our producers amongst other great Australian and international cuisine.

Club member Tony Cowan raised the idea of a Food and Wine Festival on the riverbank at a club meeting last year. He had spoken to many residents and business people, who felt it was a well overdue event.

Many locals also have very fond memories of the massive crowds that would congregate on the Manning River Foreshore for the Summer Aquatic Carnival (1950 to mid 1990s).

The club decided action should be taken to see if it was feasible for Taree Lions to conduct a Beer, Food and Wine Festival. There was strong and enthusiastic support from the whole community, plus some local businesses. Queen Elizabeth Park was chosen as an ideal summer venue.

What is the Lions Club’s involvement with the event? 

Taree Lions Club initiated the idea and set up a feasibility study for Lions running the event on the Manning River Foreshore between Pulteney Street and Manning Street. Our former Greater Taree City Council was immediately supportive, as were some key business people in the region.

Taree Lions Club has raised sponsorship funds, plus donation of goods and services to launch the event. This evolved over the last eight months and enabled planning to be put in place to coordinate TasteFest with the support of the community and other volunteers from several organisations.

The new event marquee will also be launched at this event, with an official ribbon cutting from 9:30am in the park.

Thanks to the efforts of local member Steve Bromhead, Taree Lions was able to secure a Premiers Grant towards purchasing a 20 m x 10 m event marquee. Donations from our club and the business community enabled us to complete the purchase of the marquee in time for TasteFest.

When/where will the inaugural festival take place?

TasteFest on the Manning event launches on Saturday 14th January 2017. It will be held in Queen Elizabeth Park on the Foreshore of the beautiful Manning River in Taree’s CBD.

Our main pedestrian entry to TasteFest will be Manning Street.

Our major focus for fundraising will be The Samaritans, for the women’s refuge they run. Official opening and dedication of the event marquee will be from 9:30am. The vendors will be open from 10am until 8pm in the evening.

Run us through the program …

There is something for everyone! Our focus is making the day family friendly by including a popular petting zoo, reptile exhibit and activities such as face painting. One of our big fundraisers and fun events will be the first Rubber Duck Race on the Manning River, which has caught the imagination of all ages. This will be run sometime after 3pm, depending on the tide and wind.

In the evening there will be a short display on the water and a world first! Hugh McLeod from the Manning River Rowing Club will be revealing a brand new water-based competition with City vs Country at 6:30pm.

There will be great live music throughout the day, plus kitchen stage presentations in the large event marquee.

Come for breakfast/brunch, lunch, afternoon drinks and snacks, or pre-dinner drinks and delicacies before dining on the banks of the Manning River (vendors close at 8pm). Come, stay and enjoy the day!

We will have a great variety of vendors from our region and further afield to take your taste buds on a flavoursome journey! We are excited about the diversity and quality of food that will be available for patrons to graze on across the day. Many are looking forward to you sampling and enjoying the wines and craft beers that will be on sale.

Who are the various sponsors and producers that have come on board for this year’s event? 

We have been very fortunate to partner with a wide range of quality sponsors and donors for our inaugural event. GPB Partners Accountants and Business Advisers came on board with Civic Heart early in the year as our Foundation Sponsors at the Titanium level. This provided the momentum to gain NAB Bank as a Platinum Sponsor, Club Taree as a Platinum Plus Sponsor and a generous three year sponsorship by MidCoast Water as a Platinum Partner Sponsor.

There have been many wonderful local businesses back the idea and give us coverage through media channels.

What is it hoped TasteFest on the Manning will achieve this year? 

Making it a family friendly event, plus fundraising by Taree Lions Club for local charities will be a big focus for our club. Our theme for the day will be “Stop Domestic Violence” and our main beneficiary will be the Women’s and Children’s Refuge that is run by The Samaritans.

The public want to see Queen Elizabeth Park utilised more and a return to the festive days of the Aquatic Carnival. Taree Lions want to give a positive legacy to the broader community and give the public the opportunity to recognise our efforts by donating generously to our charitable causes.

How much will entry to the festival cost, and where can readers find out more info?

FREE entry, but gold coin donations or more will really help our fundraising efforts for charity.

Visitors should plan for a relaxed time tasting and grazing through the event, with a number of meal options across the day. Bring some loose change and cash for vendors that do not have EFTPOS. There are ATMs close by in Victoria Street.

The best way to be kept up to date is to “Like” our TasteFest on the Manning Facebook Event page and register your interest in attending at:


There is also our website: www.TasteFest.com.au 

Final say …

Don’t forget to save the date and be ready to taste, graze and dine whilst enjoying music and entertainment, plus activities on the river. The Duck Race is popular, so get in early for your numbered tickets for a chance to win one of four cash prizes up to $500 each! Tickets will be available on the day if not already sold out.

Thanks everyone.

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