Now in its third year, the Festival has grown to be one of the Sunshine Coast’s premiere festivals and a great showcase of the spectacular produce and food manufactured throughout the region.
Festival Director Julie Shelton said the two-day festival was a celebration of the Sunshine Coast real food community, bringing together the best local produce and food services from paddock to plate.
The festival was host to more than 110 local exhibits, cooking demonstrations and activities for all ages including workshops, ‘how to’ sessions and some light hearted rivalry between local celebrities.
“We had more than 8000 people through the gates this year which is consistent with last year, but given the election and other events that were on this weekend we are very happy with that,” Julie said.
Julie said the Festival was of major economic benefit to the region.
“Not only does it bring people from the Coast up to the Hinterland but also visitors from throughout South East Queensland as well as further afield. I was talking to one couple who came from New Zealand and timed their holiday so they could visit the festival,” she said.
“Just looking at the ATMs that we had onsite as an economic indicator, there was more than $72,000 withdrawn over the two days this year, compared with $58,000 last year.”
“The feedback we have had from exhibitors so far is overwhelmingly very positive, with strong sales.
“We had lots of great comments from visitors and exhibitors alike about the fantastic relaxed atmosphere throughout the Festival with everyone enjoying the huge variety of good quality food and the great afternoon entertainment, which was new to this year’s festival.”
Julie said one of the highlights from Saturday was the Mayor and Minister cook-off where a large crowd gathered to watch Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson and Queensland Environment Minister and Member for Glass House, Andrew Powell go head-to-head in the Kunara Real Food Kitchen.
“This year it was Minister Andrew Powell who took out the cook-off, thus equaling the score board after Mayor Mark Jamison’s win at the 2012 festival. Both have now said they are looking forward to the decider in 2014,” Julie said.
Festival-goers relaxed on hay bales at ‘The Stage’ and were entertained by various local artists including Acoustic Pop singer songwriter Carl Wockner and BossaNova Cowboy, Harii Bandhu.
“The weekend-long food fiesta offered a range of delicious food, local beer, stellar entertainment and an amazing atmosphere for everyone,” Julie said.
“We have had fantastic feedback about the cooking demonstrations, lectures and discussions that are at the heart of the festival as well.”
Proudly supported by event partner, IGA Sunshine Coast, festival organisers are now excited to start planning the 2014 Sunshine Coast Real Food Festival.