Food and wine festival was a big hit

April 21, 2017

Thank you very much: Elvis poses for fan photos after performing at the Cobram Hotel for an event as part of the Sun Country Food and Wine Festival.

Organisers are thrilled with the response to the Sun Country Food and Wine Festival, wrapping up its second event on April 9 after kicking off on March 31.

Held in conjunction with the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, the inaugural festival ran last year.

Moira Shire Council economic development manager Jane O’Brien said many of the events had sold out.

‘‘It was wonderful and I know from council’s perspective it was a wonderful opportunity to promote the festival and the region,’’ Ms O’Brien said.

‘‘This year we had some fantastic events and many of them were fully booked.

‘‘This year we had 14 events across the region, although one didn’t end up going ahead. It’s a growth on last year, where we had 11 events.

‘‘The events we had this year were quite significant, and because it was the second year and operators were more familiar with it, they developed events around it or for it, rather than modifying things they may have already had on.’’

Ms O’Brien said staff would pull together a detailed post-event report soon, but attendance numbers were still being confirmed.

Council staff anecdotally knew of a number of people who had travelled from Melbourne and Geelong for the events.

‘‘We know it definitely attracted visitors, and there were a lot of local people at the events as well as visitors, so it definitely has had an impact on our economy,’’ Ms O’Brien said.

‘‘The Lunch in the Olive Groves at Rich Glen sold out, Monichinos sold out and there was 120 people at their event, Cafe 3641 was sold out, there were 40 people at Byramine Homestead for their event, the Cobram Hotel was full for their event and the Butler’s Pantry event sold out as well.’’

Council has also applied for a $10000 grant from the federal Building Better Regions fund to develop marketing and promotions for the 2018 events.

‘‘We’d love to promote the festival to a wider profile if we’re successful with the grant,’’ Ms O’Brien said.

‘‘We’ve also submitted to have the whole event under the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, which will also help us grow the current event.’’

Council will also look to work with local operators to help develop event management expertise.

Once a review of the recent event is complete, staff will begin working on the 2018 event.

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