2 June 2021

WinterSun Festival in Merimbula to warm hearts and souls over June long weekend

| Albert McKnight
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Promo for WinterSun Festival's salty swim event

The WinterSun Festival in Merimbula will host a ‘salty swim’ event at Mitchies Jetty on Saturday, 12 June. Image: Supplied.

After an annual South Coast music festival was cancelled, organising for the WinterSun Festival began to bring entertainment and fun to Merimbula this upcoming Queen’s birthday long weekend from 11-13 June.

Named WinterSun in recognition of the beautiful, sunny weather the South Coast experiences during winter, the festival will feature a range of mostly outdoor activities from a group ‘salty swim’ to a race day, as well as music, markets and food.

“It’s a really simple, fun community event, but it’s got some quirky elements,” said JAM Event Management co-director and WinterSun Festival’s event manager, Lynn McColl.

“A lot of people are excited by it and are happy to have something happen on that weekend now there’s no jazz festival.”

The aim of WinterSun Festival is to fill the gap left by the popular Merimbula Jazz Festival, which has been cancelled for the second year in a row due to the impact of COVID-19.

The jazz festival is usually a boost for the region’s economy during a season that sees fewer visitors coming to the South Coast.

Ms McColl said after its cancellation, local business people came together and organised the WinterSun Festival in just eight weeks.

It also may not just be a one-off event. She said it would fit around future jazz festivals.

“Hopefully this WinterSun Festival will rejuvenate the town and bring people in from far and wide,” said Ms McColl.

“We’ve already had so much interest. A lot of people have said, ‘Can we do this? Can we do that?’ We say, ‘Yes, we’d love you to.’ But we will have to wait until next year.”

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The WinterSun Festival will be held from 11-13 June at different places around Merimbula.

It starts with Food Truck Friday on 11 June at Spencer Park, from 4:30 pm. Along with all the food trucks selling tasty treats, there will be festive lights, licenced venues, music and fire pits.

While the jazz festival may not be on, jazz can still be heard in the town with The Red Peppers performing at Merimbula RSL Club on Friday night.

Saturday, 12 June, kicks off with the Saturday Salty Swim at 7:30 am, with a swim at Mitchies Jetty where you can warm up with coffee and pastries from Mitchies, Wild Ryes and a Marine Rescue sausage sizzle.

It is free to register for the swim. For every person who registers, Budgy Smuggler will donate $25 to Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia (ORRCA).

There will also be 50 Budgy Smuggler gift vouchers on offer as random prizes. You can register for the swim here.

The Saturday celebrations will continue with a street festival in Merimbula’s CBD from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, including live music and markets in addition to the town’s shops being open for business.

Saturday night will see more jazz at Merimbula RSL Club, which will host the band, Roger Clark’s Combo.

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The Picture Show Man Cinema will finish off the night with a screening of Aussie film Strictly Ballroom at 8:45 pm. Mulled wine will also be available.

On Sunday, 13 June, there will be rounds of barefoot bowls at Club Sapphire at 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm.

There is also the WinterSun Festival Race Day at Sapphire Turf Club from 12:00 pm, which is at Kalaru, 15 minutes’ drive north of Merimbula.

The Sunday will finish with the screening of the film, Shine, at The Picture Show Man Cinema from 8:45 pm, also with mulled wine.

The 40th Merimbula Jazz Festival is planned to return in 2022.

For more information on the WinterSun Festival, click here.

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