Lovers of food and wine rejoice! After a two-year hiatus, the Wagga Wagga Food and Wine Festival is making a triumphant return.
The Wollundry Wagga Wagga Rotary Club is once again organising the festival, which will feature a number of local food and wine stalls and beer from regional Riverina brewery Yenda Beers. The event will run from 4 pm to 10 pm on Saturday 19 February.
The proceeds from the festival will be donated to a local charity or community organisation. Previous recipients like the Wagga Women’s Health Centre and the Riverina Cancer Care Centre each received more than $40,000 and the festival has contributed over $400,000 to the local community since it was launched in 2002. Drinking wine has never felt so charitable!
Rotary member and festival organiser David Pyke told Region Media that they’re eager to run a successful day after postponing in 2020 and 2021.
“The last two years we worried about whether we’d make any money at all! It was extremely disappointing because everyone gets a big benefit out of this,” he said.
“It’s a very big event and it costs a lot of money to put it on, so we need the numbers coming through the gates to make a profit.”
The festival will be held at Victory Memorial Gardens in the centre of Wagga Wagga, with parts of Morrow Street closed off to accommodate more than 16 different local food stalls. Tasty Tibetan Momos will offer their signature dumplings, Black Barrel Barbecue will be serving up American-style Beef Brisket Burgers and Harans Patisserie will have a selection of their wickedly sweet treats. Local producers Wagga Wagga Free Range Pork and Coolamon cheese will also have stalls.
But food is only part of the fun: wineries from all over the Riverina will be coming to join the festivities.
“We have wineries coming from Tumbarumba, Griffith, and local wineries,” David said.
The Riverina produces more than 60 per cent of all the wine grapes grown in NSW, and is divided into Riverina, Gundagai and Tumbarumba regions which all have a distinct terroir and different specialties.
Borambola Wines will showcase their estate-grown Gundagai region wines at the festival, while Obsession Wines from Tumbarumba will bring their cool climate wines.
Local musicians will be playing throughout the evening to provide entertainment. Local singer Mollie Waters and singer-songwriter Nathan Lamont will croon for the crowds with acoustic tunes while Deja Groove and the Groove Factorie will have the crowd ready to, well, groove!
Organisers acknowledge that people may be feeling cautious about attending large events due to COVID-19, so they may not have record-breaking crowds this year. But with the outdoor setting and plenty of space for people to spread out their own picnic blankets, David was optimistic that the Rotary Club would have a successful (and safe) day.
“We reckon the numbers will be down a bit because people will be reluctant to go out. But this is an outdoor event so we’re hoping we’ll still get good numbers,” he said.
Grab yourself a ticket and head down for a great day of delicious food and wine. Go on, treat yourself: it’s for charity!
The Wagga Wagga Food and Wine Festival will run from 4 pm to 10 pm Saturday 19 February. Tickets are $25 online, or $30 on the day. Children under 18 attend free. Tickets and more information on the website or Facebook page.