The forecast for Saturday, January 12 is 31 degrees and sunny – a great setting for the third annual TasteFest on the Manning.
And the evening at TasteFest is looking even more enjoyable with many attending a dinner inclusive of local produce by local chefs in the grand marquee.
One of the early visions of TasteFest was to have other organisations and groups “plug in events” to help TasteFest grow as a community festival.
Phil Grisold said Taree Lions resources were stretched every year in coordinating TasteFest.
If it wasn’t for community members joining the committee and the 100 plus volunteers on the day, TasteFest would not be able to continue, he said.
Organisers were excited when Push 4 Palliative Care Manning Valley offered to coordinate a dinner in the grand marquee.
TasteFest saw this as a way of further including local producers’ products, as many small local producers were unable to attend TasteFest for a variety of personal reasons.
Chefs Neil Mackenzie from Mansfield on the Manning and Julie-Ann Booth from Centrepoint Cafe volunteered their services and the Producers Dinner was born. All funds from the ticket sales will go to Push 4 Palliative Care
Now in its third year the TasteFest on the Manning is gradually building the volunteer base with the skills to run such a large event.
Lions club president Di Brooker said the costs of running the event were still a big challenge as the club needed to hire a lot of infrastructure to run the day in Queen Elizabeth Park. This would not be possible without the sponsorship of so many local businesses and local government.
“The marquee that (State MP) Steve Bromhead helped gain for the park has enabled the event to expand and this will be the evening venue for the Producers Dinner,” she said.
“It is so great to see local groups embrace the ‘big picture’ of having a fun community day in one of the best locations in the Mid Coast whilst raising money for local charities.”
Committee member John Lenton said Lions enjoyed the assistance of volunteer groups such as Can Assist Manning Valley, Quota, Rotary, Friends of Browns Creek, Tidy Up Taree, Wingham Akoostik Festival and many more.
Regional businesses are keen to see this event continue and have backed this belief with either sponsorship, free advertising, donating goods or joining the committee to give their valuable time.
Manning River Rowing Club has been a great partner since the event started and has included a few activities on the river each year to add to the entertainment. The eights will be running an event in front of TasteFest again this year.
John said Taree Lions values the kind and generous support of so many in the community and TasteFest hopes to break the record of gold coin donations this year. “It’s a whole year of planning and work but it’s worth it to see so many people being positive and enjoying themselves with charities being the winner from the day.”
He praised the efforts of vendor coordinator Kim Wilkinson. It’s not easy to get vendors to apply in time especially when more than 60 vendors need to be found for the early January event, he said.
Past president Phil Grisold said there were a lot of knockers when the idea was hatched in 2016. Once GPB Accountant came on board with a major sponsorship, that encouraged many to get on board. That initial sponsorship was crucial to launching the event, he said.
Major sponsors this year are Club Taree, NAB Bank and MidCoast Council plus an expanding group of innovative local businesses.
Phil said he would love to see more volunteers for the committee and Destination NSW funding now for the event to continue for many years.
And the last word from the volunteers: The biggest surprise at this year’s TasteFest? The greatly expanded live music program on two stages across the day and evening thanks to Wingham Akoostik organisers! And for the kids, the Duck Race.
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