A successful 35th edition of the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival wrapped up on Sunday, with a diverse range of sporting and lifestyle events which catered for locals and visitors alike.
Elmay Bouwer, Chairperson of Knysna Tourism, reflects on the 2018 edition of the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival: “I think the festival was great this year and we are very appreciative of our sponsors, particularly Pick n Pay and Momentum, for making it happen. I’m very happy with the way the events were run and mostly they were well supported. There were some new events which I believe will continue to grow every year particularly the young entrepreneurs’ events and some traditional events which had new venues which were very successful such as the Knysna Wine Festival. There was a fantastic, festive vibe in Knysna particularly over the two weekends and it appears to have been a good 10 days for local businesses, although we are still getting feedback from our members.
“The programme at Loerie Park including the Community Fair was a great idea and the infrastructure sponsored by the Knysna Municipality was superb. I really believe this is an event which could grow to be hugely successful. It’s what locals want, and they can get involved in the food and craft stalls and the entertainment. However, the event does need better marketing and this was unfortunately rather last-minute this year.
“Knysna Tourism is hoping to host a feedback meeting for all interested parties in the near future, once we have had our meetings with the sponsors and WorldSport.”
The Momentum Knysna Cycle Tour and Momentum Knysna Forest Marathon drew the crowds to Knysna on both weekends of the Festival, while an every-growing range of other sporting events had lots of support. The Momentum BIG5 Challenge provided week-long excitement, with 21-year old Port Elizabeth triathlete Keegan Cooke taking the men’s title and Stellenbosch’s Vicky van der Merwe the women’s. The Knysna Wine Festival presented by Pick Pay was hugely popular.
Three local entrepreneurs supported by the Knysna Municipality held successful first-time events with Bulelani Memani hosting 900 people at his iSkeem sePotsoyi Colour Splash Party. Oliver Mabukane had runners lined up for the inaugural iKasi Colour Fun Run with a 4,7km fun run through the township streets. Vuvu Ralushe’s Green Carpet Fashion Extravaganza at Club Vinyl showcased local designers and entertainers.
Local Green Chef Melvin Mene had a fantastic ten days, featured as one of the 20 Heinz Oyster Hotspots at his White Location restaurant. The popular Pick n Pay Fish Braai competition and Oyster Shucking and Eating Competition had Woodmill Lane Shopping centre abuzz, while the Comedy Chuckle at Mitchell’s Brewery saw funnymen Kagiso Mokgadi, Carl Weber, Yasseen Barnes and Kurt Langeveld providing the laughs.
“The Oyster Festival is so important for Knysna.The economic impact is huge and cannot be underestimated. It is vital for local businesses during an otherwise extremely quiet time of year. Knysna cannot afford not to have a Festival and we need to start working on the next one to ensure sponsorships and a proper plan are in place in good time,” concluded Bouwer.