Eat Drink Live New England just keeps getting bigger and better, and organiser Sean Taylor could not be happier with the turnout at the 4th food festival of its kind.
By all accounts, it was the best yet. More than 4,500 people showed up to enjoy the good food made with natural ingredients from around the region, the divine wine that kept flowing, the beer garden, and choice entertainment with everything from jazz to country music.
The purpose of the festival has always been to bring together producers of homegrown, home-made, home-based products that showcase the high quality of agriculture in our area. Mr Taylor has been careful to forge the direction, ensuring that it’s about quality more so than quantity.
“The goal is to get people back to slow, mindful eating where they can savour food,” said Mr Taylor.
Step 1 is to introduce them to producers of fine and wholesome ingredients. And the stallholders on Saturday were happy indeed, with all but one selling out on the day.
A walk through the stalls saw happy producers. At Glen Gowrie distillery they said they were “smashed” with demand. Smoked trout from Deanos Spring Water Smoked Trout was offered to passers-by, and washed down with wine samples from Woolaway Wines, Toppers Mountain and more. And of course Andelaine Farm’s amazing variety of products from chili, garlic, roasted, smoked and seed stock.
Step 2 is to inspire locals to get creative with their food by showing them ways in which local ingredients can be used to their full potential. And this year’s celebrity chef Luke Hines of “My Kitchen Rules” fame, with his holistic approach to health, was the ideal person to demonstrate how ingredients could be best be used.
“I’m impressed by the vibe here today,” said Mr Hines. “Most people here are very knowledgeable when it comes to healthy eating and they even know my work.”
Mr Taylor hopes that the knowledge will just keep growing with Step 3 – to keep getting the message out there that natural ingredients are the best and to ensure that the festival keeps growing.
And this year’s numbers were 1,500 more than last year and great than the year before. But how a festival can keep growing and still maintain the same $20K budget defies the laws of finance, but perhaps it is the love of the community that has nurtured the event and makes it extra special.
Mr Taylor could not be happier. “When I first approached people to support the first Eat Drink Live New England, it was hard to find stalls and sponsors, but it just keeps getting easier every year,” he said.
With Bindaree Beef and TAFE as the main sponsors, more help and the constant support of the Inverell Club, the festival has solid standing.
Evans Street, with its iconic buildings, and Inverell Club (think liquor license) is an ideal location for the event, and it is hoped that in the future the Art Gallery and even Town Hall will hop on board. The sunny sky is the limit as far as Eat Drink Live New England is concerned.
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