Ballina ‘bounty’ at food festival

THE inaugural Ballina’s Bounty Fine Food and Wine Festival will be held Sunday, May 30. The festival is to be staged as an outdoor, market event by the Rotary Club of Ballina-on-Richmond at the Ballina Jockey Club from noon to 4pm.

Invitations have been extended to local restaurants, cafes, wholesale food distributors and primary producers to present signature dishes, local wines and food products for the public to enjoy at the inaugural festival.

The 2010 Fine Food and Wine Festival is a newly created club project and the Rotarians hope it will deliver much-needed funds to the Rotary Foundation and at least one local community support group yet to be nominated.

Event manager Milton Colbert comments: “We’ve got the whole club membership working on the event – it’s all hands on deck! We want the festival to become a signature event for Ballina.”

Colbert states that he is really pleased with the way the Rotary teams are responding to the event.

“Events like this only work if the entire community gets behind them,” Colbert says, “We need to see entrepreneurship, colour and flair and above all an exhibitors list that truly represents Ballina’s real talent.”

Colbert says that the committee aims to stage an event of real significance that will showcase Ballina’s produce, talent and lifestyle, provide enjoyment and entertainment for the local community and visitors to the region and, in so doing, raise meaningful funds for charitable donation.

There will also be at least five wineries exhibiting to reinforce the strong traditional connection between food and wine.

Exhibition space has been offered free and all food and wine samples will be provided free to the public. The only cost associated with the event is the entry fee to the grounds.

Cooking demonstrations and local entertainers will be providing a celebratory atmosphere to the event.

Julie Lee, a member of the organising committee, said the concept came from Milton Colbert who had organised similar events in Sydney.

“Our aim is to showcase the wonderful food in this area and to create the first annual event,” she says. “No one has done this for Ballina before, and it’s amazing what comes out of the woodwork, all the cottage industries out there are fantastic.”

Entertainment on the day is to include the Samba Blistas, Glen Massey, the Lennox Head Headliners, a local belly dancing group and a band called Sophistication. The response to the call for exhibitors has been great.

“We now have 34 exhibitors,” she says, “including restaurants, wineries, cottage industries and food producers.”

The festival has the Northern Rivers Food Links Project involved; this is considered a real coup by the committee as they will help involve local growers and producers.

The entry fee is $25 for adults, free for children under five-years old, and $1 for each year over five, up to 17-years old.

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