Oysterfest organiser Annette Plane is excited about the upcoming 2017 festival following last year’s cancellation, with new events and ideas planned.
Besieged by last September’s big storm, the event went missing from the Ceduna calendar but this year’s Oysterfest is set to feature guests and artists booked for 2016 and a raft of other innovations.
Ms Plane said she was raring to go for the September 29 to October 1 festivities.
“For those involved in organising it was devastating and we did get some negative feedback from people who had travelled for the event but that was minor,” she said.
“Everybody was disappointed but our suppliers were supportive, sponsors rallied behind us and in the end financially we came out of it not too bad.
“Council was happy with how it was tidied up, so the future of Oysterfest is not in doubt and most plans for this year are tracking well, we have been able to roll event planning to this year so most basic things are already in place.”
She said the likes of special guest chef Simon Bryant and country music artist Amber Joy Poulton would be at the festival, albeit 12 months later than originally planned, while a number of innovations were being finalised.
There will be a fenced food and wine precinct, which Ms Plane said could be thought of along the lines of the Garden of Unearthly Delights at Adelaide’s Fringe Festival.
“The fencing allows us to do more evening entertainment, it increases security, we can theme it, light it and style it,” she said.
“It will define the area as a central area for people looking for food, wine and entertainment.
“There will be an Eyre Peninsula produce focus, there’s got to be a local connection – we want to cover regional produce from fish and squid to lamb and beef to showcase that the West Coast has really good food and it’s about time we realise that’s something we need to push as an option.”
Friday night will see a cocktail-style dinner at the food and wine precinct, which would allow for more numbers at a cheaper price.
Ms Plane said organisers expected 200 to 300 people to the event which was likely to be $50 per person.
The Sunday night dinner will be hosted at the Sailing Club, which Ms Plane said would cater to a more family atmosphere.
The Saturday dinner is yet to be finalised but organisers are hoping for a premium dinner event catered by Mr Bryant which would be a limited ticket affair that Ms Plane said would not come cheap but would be aimed at people wanting a deluxe food and wine experience.
“We want a premium experience and it’s something we haven’t really done so we are hoping it comes together,” she said.
“There’s a 70 per cent chance of it happening.”
In an attempt to attract more small stall holders in arts and crafts in the McEvoy Marquee with a local focus, organisers have reduced costs to $33 for a single table for the whole weekend and $66 for a 3-metre by 3-metre area.
Ms Plane said this was for small-scale, homemade arts after comments from the arts and craft community that they could not previously afford stall prices if they were not big sellers.
The marquee will also hold cooking demonstrations with Mr Bryant and other activities, so Ms Plane said there should be a constant flow of foot traffic into the area.
She also assured that oyster stocks for the event would not be affected by the Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome outbreak in Tasmania which had had an effect on the industry’s spat supply, with oyster growers ensuring there would be enough stock in reserve for the weekend festivities.
Ms Plane also called upon community members to submit ideas for the 2018 event and urged people to contact her with input on how to move forward.