Fabulous festival

With only days to go before Taree’s inaugural food festival, TasteFest on the Manning, organisers are putting the finishing touches on the January 14 event. 

The festival will be held on the Manning River Foreshore at Queen Elizabeth Park from 10am until 8pm. 

“It’s looking great,” said Phil Grisold, the president of Taree Lions – the group that is running and organising the festival. 

“We have more vendors than expected – with 60 stalls catering to a broad spectrum of cuisines such as Greek, Thai, Moroccan and many more. We are proud of the fact that a large number of these stalls come from the amazing producers in the Manning Valley.

“We have family food as well as boutique options and the festival will have options to suit all budgets with vendors encouraged to sell tasting plates and offer samples.”

He said the festival entertainment was chosen with families in mind and there would be a free petting zoo, reptile exhibit and face painting. 

The event will have live music from Brunette Mischief, Jake Davey, James Bennett, Keegan Gibson, Mitchell Brown and Josh Needs. 

Another stage that will also be of interest to many people is the Kitchen Stage that will be set up with equipment donated from Taree’s Leading Appliances. 

The stage will be used for demonstrations and the BBQ Bash – a competition between four people to cook the best barbecue in a bid to win a Weber barbecue from Manning Mowers BBQ'S and Heating.

Phil said the event would also debut the new event marquee, which was secured with state government funding as well as support from the community. 

“Shade was a really important factor in planning the festival,” Phil said. 

“We want the event to be comfortable for all –  rain or shine. So even if it is a hot or rainy day we encourage people to come down and enjoy themselves in a shady spot by the river.” 

The Manning River will also be a site for entertainment – with a duck race about 2.30pm, a city versus country competition organised by Hugh McLeod at 6.30pm and the summer rowing regatta throughout the day.