Raising a glass to save birds

BOTTOMS UP: Debera Duplock and Julie Lee, exhibitor coordinators with Ballina RSL club chef Brad Baldwin.
BOTTOMS UP: Debera Duplock and Julie Lee, exhibitor coordinators with Ballina RSL club chef Brad Baldwin. Doug Eaton

SEA TURTLES and shorebirds are hoping for visitors to enjoy as much plonk and nibbles as possible at the Ballina Fine Wine and Food Festival next Sunday.

The major beneficiary of this year's event is wildlife protector Australian Seabird Rescue, following fundraising in previous years for Ballina Marine Rescue, Our House, the local SES, and Rotary's Polio Plus project.

With 46 food and wine exhibitors from near and far, joined by buskers and bands, event chairman Col Lee appropriately summed it up as a "gourmet's delight".

Punters can partake in samples of everything from cheeses, fresh and cooked seafood, to small good, gourmet ice-creams, and blueberries, and boutique coffees.

The bustling event fills out the entire Ballina Jockey Club building, and will additionally have the use of two grand marquees outside - one with a full kitchen built for cooking demonstrations.

The marquee kitchen will be graced by popular My Kitchen Rules surfer dads Paul and Blair, and Ballina RSL Club executive chef Gerhard Spatz.

A change to licensing of the event means unlike previous years, people can now purchase wine and beer from the stalls and consume it at the venue, or take bottles away.

"This year we've got more boutique beers and a cider exhibitor which we've never had before," Mr Lee said.

"We also have wine masters from Dan Murphys, Treasury Wines, and a really good cider company, Batlow Cider Company, from the biggest apple-growing area in Australia.

"We've got the most wineries we've ever had...we've got wineries from Mudgee, we've got wineries from Victoria."

A brand new Weber barbecue will also be "secretly" launched at the event for the first time in Australia with cooking displays all day, predating the Australian release by a week. There's also non-stop entertainment all day, including the popular Samba Blisstas, and the JD Duo playing 1960's, 70's and 80's music alongside buskers.

A new shuttle bus will roam around Ballina and Lennox Head from 11am throughout the day, with timetables on the website, and fare by donation.


What's on

When: Sunday, July 20, from 12-5pm.

Where: Ballina Jockey Club and Function Centre, Racecourse Rd.

Tickets: $20. Available from the website, at Tonic Hair and Beauty in River St Ballina, or at the door.


Topics:  australian seabird rescue ballina fine wine and food festival

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