Between the vendors with their tasty produce and musicians keeping time, Nelson Bay was abuzz over the weekend. The chatter among the crowd was equally positive with the addition of some new attractions.
“We had fabulous feedback on the Taster’s Trail in particular,” festival coordinator Peter Clough said.
This attraction alone sold out two times over.
Those lucky enough to get tickets embarked on a kind of progressive lunch, enjoying an entree here, a main elsewhere and dessert on the move again.
“It did really well to showcase Nelson Bay as a restaurant and dinning destination,” Mr Clough said.
“Of course, that’s one of our primary objectives of Tastes at the Bay and we achieved that.
“The restaurants handled it really well.
“What’s exciting is, the restaurants could do it any time of the year, they don’t have to wait until Tastes.”
From the very start, Tastes at the Bay attracted strong interest, right from the launch on Thursday night. The first event was a winemakers dinner at Nelson Bay Golf Club on Friday night.
Tickets sold well here, as they did to the cheese maker’s workshop and the jazz luncheon cruise – the latter clearing 100 tickets.
Mr Clough said the event was a success in terms of ticket sales alone.
“As an event organiser you get a little nervous about selling tickets at this price point but we could have sold even more on the cruise,” he said.
The sun was out early on Saturday, and so were the tasters. Hundreds of people filed into the Nelson Bay CBD, Apex Park and d’Albora Marina to check out the festival’s offerings. The addition of some old time rock ‘n’ roll on the Saturday night helped extend the festival vibe until dark.
Even if the rain did settle in, it did not dampen the spirits of tasters on Sunday. People still filled Magnus and Stockton streets, which were closed to traffic and filled with seats and stages.
The cooking demonstration marquee in Apex Park was busy all weekend as chefs showed people, for free, some of their tips and tricks for creating their showcase dishes.
“We could have gone to Sydney for some big name chefs but we chose to highlight the talent we have right here in Nelson Bay,” Mr Clough said.
“It was popular in the rain and we virtually had a full house all weekend.”
From start to finish Mr Clough was pleased with the crowds.
“In an overall view, it went really, despite the weather,” he said.
“People really pumped in for the first few hours on Saturday and was certainly on par with past years. The crowd might have been a little down on the Sunday.”