Festivals the jewels of Pearl Beach
PEARL Beach, as its name suggests, is something special.
And two events on the Pearl Beach Progress Association calendar sum up its unique environment and sense of culture and community - the Pearl Beach Food and Wine Fare, now in its 10th year, on September 23, and the annual Jazz in the Arboretum on October 1.
Organiser Lynne Lillico has been involved since the fare's inception and said while the number of exhibitors couldn't grow past its current 14 due to the size of the Memorial Hall where it is held, it attracted about 1000 people through the doors each year.
"The fare started 10 years ago as a fundraising activity to raise much-needed money to restore the ageing ocean rock pool," Lynne said.
"The success of the event encouraged the Progress Association to make it annual.
"We invite about 14 gourmet food and boutique wine producers from the Hunter and Central Coast.
"Fifty percent of the original exhibitors return each year. In addition we endeavour to source new and interesting produce suppliers."
This year one of the new feature presenters is Chillicious Gourmet Foods from Copacabana, with their handmade artisan products including relishes, chutneys, jams and chocolate.
You can also sample from Wollombi and Catherine Vale Wines and Old Inn Road Vineyard. Favourite food producers on show include Little Creek Cheeses, Crooked Creek's biscuits and homemade Christmas puddings, Laguna Olives, Wollombi Honey and Margin's Mushrooms.
Two Gourmet Hampers filled with food and wine donated by exhibitors will be raffled, with proceeds toward the Memorial Hall maintenance and upkeep.
And the hall has quite a history, with one of the main aims of the association from its inception in 1929 being construction of a community hall.
Unfortunately, the Great Depression and WWII were major stumbling blocks, and it wasn't until 1950 that the building was finished thanks to a fundraising drive, voluntary labour and local builders.
The hall became a memorial to the young men from Pearl Beach who died in the war and is used each year for the Anzac Day service as well as numerous community events.
But for those who would also like a taste of jazz, there's Jazz in the Arboretum, this year featuring the pianist often referred to by critics and his peers as one of the finest artists in the world, Simon Tedeschi, and multi-instrumentalist George Washingmachine.
Lynne encouraged people to buy their tickets ($45 adults, $25 children) early so as not to miss out, and bring a rug or chairs and a picnic and enjoy what is a unique experience with world class artists in a native bushland setting.
To find out more about the fare, the concert, the association and other events, go to www.pearlbeachprogress.org.au.