Love Sea Food, Port Stephens MultiSport Festival granted $20,000 each by NSW Government

CASH INJECTION: The Love Sea Food festival, due to return in 2021, has received $20,000 through the NSW Government's 2020 Regional Event Fund. Picture: Henk Tobbe
CASH INJECTION: The Love Sea Food festival, due to return in 2021, has received $20,000 through the NSW Government's 2020 Regional Event Fund. Picture: Henk Tobbe

A major food and a large sport festival staged in Port Stephens each year have been funded $20,000 each through the state government's regional event fund.

The funds granted to the Love Sea Food festival, typically run throughout the month of August, and the Port Stephens MultiSport Festival, usually staged in the Bay across a weekend in September, is designed to help organisers deliver the events which would in turn attract visitors to the area and "drive economic activity for local businesses".

Catherine Cusack, the Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, said the support for these events would be "critical to reawakening the local tourism industry" following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This is fantastic news for small businesses across Port Stephens - events bring in visitors who stay locally and spend locally, plus events employ local residents and are important to the social and cultural fabric of the area," she said.

"It has been incredibly tough for residents and businesses in recent months, so this NSW Government support is most welcome and will play a significant part in getting Port Stephens back on track to be the vibrant community it's known to be.

"I can't wait to see fresh local seafood and produce at the next Love Sea Food event, and competitors running, swimming and riding across beautiful Port Stephens in the popular mulitsport festival, when we can all safely enjoy social gatherings once again."

Destination Port Stephens CEO Eileen Gilliland and Tomaree Business Chamber president Leah Anderson at the launch of the 2019 festival. Picture: Henk Tobbe

Destination Port Stephens CEO Eileen Gilliland and Tomaree Business Chamber president Leah Anderson at the launch of the 2019 festival. Picture: Henk Tobbe

Love Sea Food, first staged in 2016, aims to showcase the seafood industry in Port Stephens and to demonstrate what an important resource it is to the local economy. In 2019 the renowned Love Sea Food and hugely popular Tastes at the Bay events joined forces and resources to create 'Love Sea Food and Tastes Port Stephens' as the Port's signature winter calendar event.

This is the third year that Love Sea Food has received funding from the NSW Government's regional event fund.

"The event has been held annually for the past four years in August. Due to COVID-19 restrictions on mass gatherings, this year's event will be postponed until August 2021," Destination Port Stephens boss Eileen Gilliland said.

"Love Sea Food is a month long event that showcases the fresh local seafood the region is renowned for, the people who catch, farm and cook [it] and the incredible place it comes from - Port Stephens.

"Last year over 10,000 people attended the festival weekend and many events throughout the month sold out... classes and signature lunch and dinner events held at various venues in Port Stephens during August."

The Port Stephens MultiSport Festival combines the TreX Cross Triathlon Series and Trail Run Australia. The events are due to be held in Fingal Bay on the weekend of September 19 and 20, 2020.

The Port Stephens Dirt Master and Dirt Mistress Challenge is also staged as part of the festival across the two days.