THOUSANDS of locals and visitors showed their support for the Koonya Garlic Festival held late last month.
In a world of Covid restrictions, festival organisers have to be brave to put in the hundreds of hours needed to make a successful event.
Organising public events is not for the faint hearted, and based on the success of the garlic festival, the recent Pirates Bay Centenary event and later this month the Bream Creek Show, those in the South East are punching above their weight.
While endless shows and public events have been cancelled over recent months, the hugely popular Koonya Garlic Festival was voted a huge success.
The small organising team, many of whom were new to the event, pulled off a festival which offered food and beverages, entertainment, cooking master classes, craft, garlic competitions and more.
Opened by Tasman Mayor Kelly Spaulding, the event brings an influx of economic activity to the peninsula. Mr Spaulding said the summer had been very busy for local businesses. “We’re seeing visitors return,’’ Mr Spaulding said.
Organisers paid tribute to Koonya identities Graeme Foster and Franz Steinhauser who were behind the garlic competition.
“It’s often said that the competition is at the heart of the festival and these two lovely blokes keep that heart beating,’’ a spokesperson said.
“They have been central to the development of the format of the competition as well as being key workers making sure every competition has run smoothly.
“This has involved their contribution of many hours each festival and a humour, diligence and enthusiasm that has made the judge’s task that much easier, each and every year.
“Graeme encouraged many younger growers in the area with his vast knowledge of organic gardening and his somewhat provocative boast that his was bigger than any of theirs (garlic bulbs).
“Franz has grown garlic that was simply intimidating to other growers, given its size, quality and presentation.’’
Adopting the garlic theme, local artist Nina Ahlgren fashioned paper mache garlic shaped drop earrings which were popular with those wanting to ward off vampires.
From Franklin in the state’s south, Isabel and Sam Rubera, with three-month-old son Basil made their first trip to the festival and declared it a great experience.