On Saturday Meeniyan delivered perfect weather and a happy crowd of 6–7000 to enjoy the colourful second Garlic Festival with its wide range of entertainment for all ages.
Attendance statistics revealed that 30% of visitors came from Melbourne and a further 35% came from outside South Gippsland.
“Naturally we love to create for our local crowd, but we also market widely to attract newcomers to showcase our amazing ‘land of plenty”, explained Festival chair David Jones. “Our beaches are well known and with the growing group of quality food producers, we’re proud to promote our position as a major food bowl and diverse tourism destination. It’s great to see that surrounding towns have collaborated and enjoyed the economic flow on from the festival as well. We also used social media in new ways this year which reached different demographics.”
Interesting lectures for brain fodder, cooking demonstrations from Melbourne’s best chefs, fabulous flavours for the tummy, tasty treasures for the pantry and great local musicians linked all into a happy relaxed day.
The kids were spoilt for choice, with the addition of balloon soccer a huge hit. Age old favourites like billycart races, sack races, treasure hunts and vege sculptures were popular and both young and old joined in the community project of making garlic lanterns under the guidance of international festival artist Amanda Diamond.
Visitors took advantage of the free parking and shuttle buses at Stony Creek and spilled into the main street, the recently opened Market Square which housed the arts and craft precinct and the principal hub at the Recreation Reserve.
“As with all community events, they would not exist without the amazing support of local volunteers and generous sponsorship from local businesses. Our thanks to all.
“If readers are interested in becoming involved in some way next year, please check out www.meeniyangarlicfestival.com.au for the many opportunities.”
Unrelated to the festival, but other events to put Meeniyan on the map will be the two sold out concerts this week featuring Neil Finn and his son Liam, thanks to the Lyrebird Arts Council.
What will Meeniyan do next? Stay tuned!