This year’s Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival (29 June to 8 July) will have an exciting new format aimed at spreading the festival events throughout the town to iconic Knysna venues including Thesen Harbour Town, Woodmill Lane, the Knysna Waterfront, Loerie Park, the Knysna Yacht Club, Mitchell’s Brewery and a number of top local restaurants.
The festival will be decentralised and various venues will host an array of activities, including a Momentum Kiddies Zone at the Knysna Waterfront. At Loerie Park there will be entertainment for children as well as sporting activities such as Athletics SWD, and Oyster Festival rugby, soccer and netball tournaments.
A slightly different approach to the offering for foodies this year will see local restaurants hosting Flavours of Knysna on Wednesday, 4 July, turning the event into a culinary journey to some of the best restaurants in Knysna and Sedgefield. Guests will be able to explore and taste their way through Knysna, starting at the Knysna Yacht Club, where they will plan their own route on the hop on–hop off shuttles.
Each guest will receive a voucher book for tasters – either a ‘once off’ bespoke flavour taster, or a taste of the restaurant’s bestselling or flagship menu item. Participants will then have the opportunity to vote for their favourite taster using ballot cards in their voucher books, which will also give them an automatic entry into a fantastic lucky draw prize.
The Knysna Wine Festival on Monday, 2 and Tuesday, 3 July, will also have a new venue on Thesen Harbour Town, while the Comedy Shuckle on Thursday, 5 July will deliver its usual hilarity at Mitchell’s Brewery.
Cruise Café will be the home of the Momentum Big5 Challenge with sporting events either starting or finishing there, including the Momentum Knysna Lagoon Mile Swim, the Momentum Featherbed Trail Run, and the Momentum Health MTB-X.
The Momentum Knysna Cycle Tour on Saturday, 30 June and Sunday, 1 July and the Momentum Knysna Forest Marathon Saturday, 7 July will remain at the Knysna High School sports fields, which will be a hive of activity for participants and spectators, with a Momentum Kiddies Zone on both weekends.
Chairperson of Knysna Tourism Elmay Bouwer said that she is delighted with the new format, which will change the festival from being field-based to being part of the town. “This new plan will bring the festival back to the community and make it more accessible for everyone,” she said.
Bouwer said that Knysna Tourism has also listened to members who wanted an after-party on the day of the Momentum Knysna Forest Marathon. “Historically the ‘marathon after-party’ was hugely popular and we are excited to confirm that there will be a party on Saturday hosted by Whe+ restaurant on Thesen Harbour Town.”
Bouwer said that the festival is 35 years old this year and has become an institution for Knysna. “It is estimated to attract over 60 000 visitors and its importance to the economy of the area cannot be overestimated. An Event Impact Assessment done by the Knysna Municipality in 2016 shows that visitors to the region spent almost R110 m over the ten day period of the festival on accommodation, food and beverages, transport, leisure and retail activities. This resulted in the creation of 2,392 employment opportunities.
“It’s one of the biggest sport and lifestyle festivals in the country and it’s not just because of the fantastic line-up of events. It’s because Knysna offers a wonderful winter holiday destination for families and sport and nature lovers and there is so much to do when you are here. We are looking forward to another great festival.”
For more information and the full festival programme visit www.oysterfestival.co.za. To book your accommodation visit www.visitknysna.co.za.