Get ready for more garlic

THE 2018 Meeniyan Garlic Festival will be bigger and work harder to showcase the produce of the region.

To be held on Saturday, February 17 at the Meeniyan Recreation Reserve, the festival already has more than 120 interested stallholders, less than a month after applications opened.

The 2017 festival was the first of its kind in Victoria and was the brainchild of Mirboo garlic farmers Kirsten and David Jones and their daughter Felicity.

Mr Jones said the 2017 festival had just 20 stalls booked in by December 2016.

He said they expected to have around 100 stall holders for the 2018 festival, compared to around 65 in 2017.

The 2017 festival attracted more than 7000 people and provided an estimated economic benefit of over $600,000. More than 40 per cent of those visitors coming from the greater Melbourne area.

Mr Jones said the Garlic Festival provides the perfect platform to put a spotlight on the region’s produce.

He said while the festival will remain on one day, producers, hospitality and tourism businesses are being encouraged to think about how they can capitalise on the popularity of the festival.

“The Garlic Festival is a good one day event and we plan to keep it at that level, however we are keen to cross promote other events and activities happening around the region on the same weekend,” he said.

“We want to create a whole weekend around it.”

Mr Jones said they are working with Dairy Australia and GippsDairy to set up some open farms on the Sunday to bounce off the stronger dairy presence at the festival.

The set up for the festival has been refined after the inaugural event, which will see the stages set up next to each other instead of opposite ends of the oval.

The food vans will be located from the cricket clubrooms, around the oval to the football club rooms while the garlic stalls will be located along the road from the Hanily Street entrance.

As well as gourmet food offerings, the Meeniyan Men’s Shed and golf club will be putting on a barbecue.

The 2018 festival will also feature a dairy precinct and a wine and cheese precinct.

“All the local cheese makers want to be involved and 12 wineries have already registered,” Mr Jones said.

The organising committee wants to see at least 80 per cent of the stall holders from the local Gippsland region and is focussed on keeping the country feel of the festival.

“Even if it gets bigger we want to keep the country feel pretty central,” Mr Jones said.

“We want to create more precincts and more places for people to immerse themselves.”

The festival will feature three nationally recognised chefs and three “local heroes” and the musical performers will follow the same model.

Penny Woodward will be back to chair the garlic institute, located in the Meeniyan Hall and the novelty events including the billy cart races and vegetable sculpting will return to keep people of all ages entertained.

The 2018 festival will also feature community group stalls, to add “more dimension and flavour” to the festival.

Go garlic: creators of the Meeniyan Garlic Festival, Mirboo garlic growers Kirsten and David Jones are looking forward to their second festival, which will be held in February 2018.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=22724

Posted by on Oct 3 2017. Filed under Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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