THE sun must be beaming, the music has to be blaring and the beer should be bubbling.
Well-known Wagga foodies say the combination of the three is the “perfect recipe” for modern event success – and there are calls to cement the first weekend in October as the weekend of food.
It comes as the city staged hugely successful back-to-back events at the weekend, with attendance rates for both the Gears and Beers Festival and the Cork and Fork Fest numbering in the thousands – a surprise to organisers of both events.
Leading Wagga foodie Tania Sibrey, who runs Food I Am, said the Riverina has been “crying out” for food-based events for years. Ms Sibrey said regional cities such as Orange and Albury regularly staged food festivals – a fact to the envy of Riverina producers.
“Food events have been really popular in other areas for a long time and I think we haven’t had enough of them,” she said.
“People of the Riverina have been crying out for this for a long time … and now it’s here. This weekend was a good example of two events that were promoted well and run well – it shows there is a demand there.”
The tourism network has in recent months redoubled its efforts to sell the region’s food bowl status to outsiders.
And Ms Sibrey believes Taste Riverina, the premiere food event for the Riverina, has shown remarkable success over its four years.
“It’s gathered momentum and I can only see that getting stronger,” she said.
“It all goes back to people bonding over food. The first weekend is now really where it really all comes together.”
Another Wagga foodie, Jason Dowding, of The Blessed Bean, said October was a perfect time of year for food-based events.
“For one thing the weather has been rather nice and I think with Gears and Beers, it was just a great combination of sporting activities and getting people on board,” he said.
“We should be doing more of this – promoting local people – because there are a lot of amazing people here doing great things.”
Mr Dowding believed food events proved popular because of a basic human instinct for community.
“It’s a very primitive sort of thing,” he said. “They are very communal and it brings people together over a common love … everyone loves good, local produce.”
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