The Mirror News

Tea Cosy Festival a triumph of colourful cleverness

THERE would be precious little doubt in any the minds of the 6000 or so people who attended the nine-day Fish Creek Tea Cosy Festival 2024 from May 18 to 26 as to the triumph of colourful cleverness they had the good fortune to witness.

The Festival’s chief drawcard was the display of the nearly 200 tea cosies lodged in different categories such as “Traditional”, “Exuberant Whimsy” and “Celebrations and Celebrities” that were perfectly set in the elegance of the Fish Creek Memorial Hall.

Festival opening day on Saturday May 18 brought about 1000 spectators through the doors of the Hall, as did the second Saturday, May 15, with a few up to several hundred people enjoying the Hall’s warming tea cosy atmosphere on the other days.

The artistry and the handcrafted competence of many of the tea cosies and their makers were truly breathtaking, though pouring a cuppa amid the tentacles of an octopus, the beak of a bird, or the petals of intricate flowers could possibly be a bit tricky … !

The Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla of the United Kingdom, and Queen Elizabeth II and her Corgi drew gasps of admiration; children of all ages loved the Heeler Family of worldwide Bluey fame, and the knitted Arnott’s cream biscuits on a white wool plate looked absolutely delicious.

The leaves of the hand-knitted turnip tea cosy may have indeed been rather tall, but the stout roundness of the vegetable itself proved to be the ideal and serviceable shape for a teapot.

Local community groups, including the Fish Creek Kindergarten, the Fish Creek Primary School and the Foster Tennis Club, took turns to prepare and bake literally dozens of dozens of scones for Devonshire teas served with flair on the Hall stage.

Other highlights during the Festival included Zentangle drawing, landscape sketching and painting, rope-making classes, and a jazz music performance and Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea fundraiser for the Cancer Council at the Fish Creek Hotel.

The Kitchen Table Project in the Memorial Hall’s supper room encouraged  festivalgoers to make themselves a cup of tea, to sit down at a broad community table and to embroider a flower on a huge tablecloth, surrounded by an exhibition of vintage aprons and tea cosies featuring exquisite cross stitch, smocking or applique.

The supper room was also the location for Tea Tonic, an informative talk about the medicinal and curative properties of tea, herbs and various types of foods, and also for the Cropfest Film Festival screening locally-produced movies.

At other venues in Fish Creek, there were Dr Suess-style tree tea cosies and porcelain teapots on show; pottery workshops, sip and stitch sessions, a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and heartily crafty presentations entitled Pirates’ Treasure.

On the second Saturday, more than 25 stalls filled the Fish Creek Village Green and the neighbouring tennis courts for the Bendigo Bank Market Day, with circulating jazz musicians, a community dance class led by Hannah Bradsworth, and the Fish Creek Scouts’ barbecue.

On Sunday afternoon May 26, the Fish Creek Bowls Club hosted the almost instantly sold-out South Gippsland Hospital Auxiliary’s High Tea, where bubbles, fruit cup, endless tea and coffee were served alongside sweet treats, savoury delights, three types of sandwiches and scones and jam and cream to 72 lucky people.

The Fish Creek Tea Cosy Festival committee was delighted by the success of the 2024 event, the seventh since Festival founder the late Deirdre Grainger first inspired the Fish Creek community to stage the first of what has become an international phenomenon in May 2013.

The committee thanked everyone involved in the 2024 Festival, including the people of Fish Creek and surrounding districts, local businesses and organisations, all tea cosy entrants, and Festival participants and volunteers for their energy, creativity, hard work, good cheer, and a good cup of tea.


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