Ceduna community urged to get behind Oysterfest

PARADE: The crowd lined up to watch the street parade on Saturday. Picture: Andrew Brooks
PARADE: The crowd lined up to watch the street parade on Saturday. Picture: Andrew Brooks

Oysterfest organiser Lynette Croft is urging the Ceduna community to get behind the event in 2020 to ensure the festival remains prosperous.

The festival took place over the long weekend, with about 3000 people visiting the foreshore site each day, although crowds battled the heat and strong winds on Saturday which forced some activities to be postponed.

Ms Croft said she had received feedback in the days following the festival which included a feeling of a lack of community feel.

She said there was a shortage of groups willing to get involved in the event at the main site.

"I was disappointed the local community didn't get behind the event - no group wanted to get involved, hence the lack of local input," she said.

"Not one group put their hand up to attend this year and you can't expect it to remain a community event if there are none.

"It's all well to say it lacked a local feel, but without the community getting behind it, we are lucky people from outside saved the day."

She said Oysterfest also needed volunteers to ensure it ran smoothly, from helping with demonstrations to the staging of competitions.

"A lack of volunteers makes it difficult to hold competitions - we just don't have enough people to hold all the competitions and realistically we needed four times the amount of volunteers we had," Ms Croft said.

"If we can't get support, if we need to pay staff, we might need an entry fee on the festival.

"If the community wants to continue to have an event it needs to step up."

She said a number of the new activities were well received, including the masterclasses which were sold out, the 'feast of the gods' festival dinner and rock wall climbing.

"The masterclasses had exceptional feedback and we will look to hold more next year, the Melbourne Cup was well received, the feast of the gods dinner went off spectacularly, and as soon as the rock wall went up on Sunday they were busy the whole time."

It was not all smooth sailing however, as the oyster supply ran out early on Sunday afternoon.

"Oyster growers underestimated the crowd attendance and got smashed on Saturday, with so many people there despite the trying weather conditions," Ms Croft said.

She said there were already plans in motion for 2020, including the possibility of moving competitions such as the fish filleting back to the main zone.

"We will probably bring it back to the main area, but when you do that you need to stop the main entertainment and the view was to have quality entertainment rolling all day to give people something to watch," Ms Croft said.