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Thursday, 22 June 2017 14:32

The #Best10DaysOfWinter are here

The annual Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival is one of South Africa’s most popular festivals, with huge appeal for sports lovers, families, foodies and those in search of the best 10 days of their winter and it will go ahead this year despite the fires say organisers.

In fact it will bring employment and hope to the fire-ravaged town.

Sporting events
The Momentum Knysna Cycle Tour (Saturday, July 8 for the MTB and Sunday, July 9 for road race events and the Forest Family Dam Ride) and the Momentum Knysna Forest Marathon and Half Marathon (Saturday, July 15) are always big drawcards for sporting enthusiasts, and this year will be no different.

The Big5 Challenge (July 8 to 15) will be switching things up this year with a new MTB X race added to the list, which is sure to have spectators on the edge of their seats as the elite and amateur athletes fight it out over the five courses.

Pezula hosts the Europcar Knysna Classic (Friday, July 14) golf tournament, which is always a popular event, book your four-ball now to secure your spot.

For the less athletically inclined there is the Oyster Rapid Chess Tournament (July 8) and the Knysna Oyster Festival Motorsport Gymkhana (also July 8).

Food offerings
The popular Pick n Pay Seafood Wednesday is back (Wednesday, July 12) Top-notch restaurants will showcase their best seafood dishes, and once the sun starts to sink towards the horizon, the Pick n Pay Sassi Fish Braai, Oyster Shucking and Eating Competitions, and the Pick n Pay Flavours of Knysna all get under way. Make sure you don’t miss the heated battle for the Best Fish Braaier in Knysna – the competition is hot.

Local establishments have a variety of specials on for the duration of the festival, so come hungry and enjoy the large variety of sumptuous food on offer.

For the kids
If your kid is the active type then why not enter them in the Big5 Junior Challenge (July 8 to 15), the Simola Little Phantom Kids Adventure Run (July 8), or the Spur Rotary Knysna Children’s Cycle Tour (July 9).

The Fun Fair is open for the duration of the festival and offers thrills for young and hold. The festival grounds also have several inflatable fun activities and games taking place throughout the period.

The Momentum Health Kiddies Area is a fun, secure play area tailored especially for the littlies. The area is supervised by qualified child minders and offers loads of awesome age-appropriate activities to keep the kids entertained and busy. The fun includes face painting, arts and crafts, jumping castles and loads more. Open to kids from two to 12, there is no charge, but children must be checked in by their parents/guardians.

To let moms and dads enjoy the festival in the evenings, the Kiddies Area will be open until late on some nights: until 21:00 on July 10 and 11, and until 22:00 on July 12 and 13.

Tourist attractions
Take a tour through the Knysna Heads: guided by expert sailors this is an adventure you don’t want to miss, with the swirling waters below you and majestic Knysna Heads around you, it’s a sight to behold.

Knysna also provides great opportunities to explore the area via the beautiful cycling and hiking trails.
For a different experience get down to Thesens Wharf and explore an SA Navy ship, which is open for tours between 10:00 and 17:00 each day.

Featherbed Nature Reserve is situated on the Western Head and offers guided tours and a buffet lunch. The best way to access the reserve is by taking the ferry, making this a wonderful family outing.

Published in Festivals & events

Knysna Tourism has confirmed that the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival is going ahead as planned. Speaking on behalf of the sponsors, the Knysna Municipality and the event organisers, board chairperson Elmay Bouwer said that while the Garden Route town suffered extensive damage in this week’s devastating fires, plans for the festival are on track.

Marketing director for the Momentum Knysna Cycle Tour, Andrew Finn said that, while Knysna has taken a big knock, the Knysna Cycle Tour is still on track with planning and organisation. “Once all the fires have been extinguished, we will be able to assess the situation to see whether it is necessary to alter any of our routes and plans, and all entrants will be updated by email,” he said. “We are looking forward to a great event.”

Organiser of The Momentum Knysna Marathon, Leon Brown, confirmed that the marathon would also go ahead. “We are dedicating the event to all the people who lost everything in the fires and will be focusing on our blanket drive. We urge people to add to the 2000 blankets which Momentum donates every year and to also donate clothing which will be collected at registration and at the race start in the Glebe so that it can be distributed where it is most needed.

Knysna Tourism is presently assessing the impact of the fires on the local accommodation establishments but is positive that festival goers will be able to find accommodation in and around the town. Visitors can call Knysna Tourism on 044 3825510 for more information.

Bouwer said that it was heartening so see how South Africans across the country have offered support for those who have lost so much in Knysna. “The festival will be a great opportunity for people who want to help our residents to recover from this disaster and we are looking forward to welcoming a record number of people to our beautiful town.”

In the meantime, anyone wishing to assist can take advantage of Pick n Pay’s online shop to purchase groceries and essentials for delivery to those in need. Visit http://www.picknpay.co.za/knysna-fire.

For more information about the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival visit www.oysterfestival.co.za. For accommodation in Knysna visit www.visitknysna.co.za.

Published in Media
Thursday, 12 January 2017 14:39

Glendyrr Fick shifts gears in career path

Glendyrr Fick, Manager of Trade and Development for Knysna & Partners (formerly Knysna Tourism), has recently been appointed by World Sport as Festival Manager for the Pick ‘n Pay Oyster Festival, closing a career chapter spanning 16 years.

Fick was born and raised in Knysna, and after completing her degree in Development Studies at UNISA, she went on to do a Tour Guide course, whereafter she was appointed as Information Officer for Knysna Tourism. This position opened the doors to some very exciting opportunities and in 2005 she was one of 15 students from Africa chosen to receive a scholarship to study at the West Flanders Economic Institute in Belgium, where she received a diploma in Sustainable Destination Management.

Her career naturally evolved from there when she was appointed Manager of Trade and Development, which was an appointment ideally suited for her considering not only her deep love for her birth town of Knysna, but also the passion she has for the upliftment of communities that live here. It was a true calling for her.

Over the years she was directly involved in Fair Trade Tourism, which aims to make tourism more sustainable by ensuring that the people who contribute their land, resources, labour and knowledge to tourism are the ones who reap the benefits. She also acted as a consultant for the Mothers of Creation Route, an Open Africa initiative.

“My role in tourism and development in Knysna has shaped me into what I am today,”says Fick, “and I have been fortunate to have been part of many positive development and upliftment projects in my community, which has given me a great deal of joy. My new position - from the public to the private sector - is a big change for me, but as Festival Manager, I will essentially still be promoting all the wonderful things for which Knysna is so well known, and so it is merely a shift. I think it will allow me the opportunity to learn and grow, for which I am very grateful.”

Her long time colleague Randi Lui Pluim said of Fick, “When I started here I was quite inexperienced in the tourism sector and Glendyrr was for me a constant source of inspiration and she patiently guided me and taught me a great deal. We are super proud of her new appointment and we wish her the very best in life”.

Published in News snippets

For the past 33 years, visitors have joined local Knysna residents in celebrating all the town has to offer during the popular Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival, fondly known as The Best 10 Days of Winter, and this year was no different.

The festival is not only about oysters, the luxurious delicacy known for its aphrodisiac powers, but also for the more than 130 wonderful events aimed to entertain over 70 000 visitors and locals of all ages. Besides being a major sporting festival, it also caters for family entertainment.

Festival a resounding success
Festival manager Nicci Rosseau-Schmidt said that once again the festival was considered a resounding success.
"Despite the wet and windy start to this year's festival it was fantastic. New events, such as the Casper Kids Adventure Run and the Simola Phantom Forest Night Run, saw an astounding 700 entries between the two.
Midweek lifestyle events were all well attended with the Pick n Pay Flavours of Knysna served with Tabasco and Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival Shuckle being sold out. The Seafood Wednesday had a great start. Its specials were popular and restaurants reported good sales and interest.

"Unlike the start, the last weekend of the festival basked in beautiful weather that the close to 8 000 runners that participated in the Momentum Cape Times Knysna Forest Marathon runners really enjoyed."
Main sporting events attract many

The main sporting events include cycling, running, kayaking, swimming and several adventure races. Two of the main sporting events, the Momentum Cape Times Knysna Forest Marathon and the Momentum Cape Times Knysna Cycle Tour showcased the magnificent natural beauty of Knysna with participants getting to see some of the most beautiful parts of the Garden Route.

The new family events, the Kids Adventure Run and the Phantom Forest Night Run, exceeded all expectations and saw hundreds of entrants enjoying the beauty of the Simola Hotel Country Club & Spa estate while opera singers sang along the route.

Focus on youth this year
Tourism entity Knysna & Partners' chief executive Greg Vogt explained that this year the focus of the festival was on the youth. "The diversity of events on offer certainly provided a little something for everyone. A very special moment for me personally was to experience the initiative for the disabled to compete."

Another new event, the Dare 2 Dash obstacle course, gave families and friends an opportunity to get down and dirty while raising much needed funds for the Knysna Education Trust. This year's Imperial Auto Festival of Golf and the Blackwaters Lodge Golf Tournament saw both adults and children showing off their golfing prowess; sadly nobody managed to win the new Sprite Caravan with a hole-in-one during the festival's Europcar Knysna Classic.

Once again the Western Cape department of cultural affairs and sport became involved and sponsored the boccia game for the physically disabled, as well as festival rugby and soccer tournaments.
Food, wine and party time

For the nonsporty types, the festival offered plenty to keep them entertained. The Pick n Pay Flavours of Knysna served with Tabasco, the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival Shuckle, and the all-new Featherbed Opera Cruise were all sellout events.

Another first, the festival saw an entire day dedicated to seafood. Seafood Wednesday offered festivalgoers the opportunity to visit restaurants throughout greater Knysna to enjoy the many seafood specials offered on the day.

For dinner, seafood-lovers moved to the festival pavilion where they enjoyed the Sassi Fish Braai, Flavours of Knysna as well as oyster shucking and eating competitions.
Another firm favourite, the Knysna Wine Festival, was packed to capacity on both evenings.

Young Oyster programme a success
As with previous years, the Knysna-Plett Herald Young Oyster programme was a great success. Children were hosted at all greater Knysna libraries and the Khayalethu and Smutsville community centres, where caregivers entertained them with several cooking, baking, and arts and crafts activities.
Parents could also safely drop off their children at the festival pavilion's Momentum Health Kids Zone. Here the children spent hours being entertained with face painting, jumping castles, videos and several other activities that helped work off some of their energy.

The SA Navy once again played an important role in the festivities. Their appearance is an enormous attraction as festivalgoers flock to the Knysna Heads to witness the dramatic entrance. The Navy parade and band performance at the Knysna Waterfront was, as usual, a world-class display.

The organisers and sponsors of the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival know that this festival is not only about frivolous fun. Rather, they ensure that their event benefits the community and its charities.
Great help to local charities
Visitors who enjoyed the flavours and festivities of the festival can rest assured that they helped nonprofit organisations and the underprivileged to benefit.

Last year the festival raised R2-million, and in the past seven years, a grand total of R13-million has been donated to local charities. This year, Momentum Health once again donated 2 000 high-quality, fleece blankets to greater Knysna's underprivileged.

Vogt, who participated in a number of festival activities, said, "Having been in the mix and participating in the Big5Lite, I had the privilege of being with participants and festivalgoers, and hearing first hand of their experiences." He added that the festival is unique and that visitors found the event/s worthwhile and unique.

The Knysna municipal local economic development department, he said, ran a research study once again. "We took the time to work with the data capturers and it was interesting to get input from those people surveyed on how they perceived the festival. There is a growing number of people coming to Knysna not only to enter events, but for other festival offerings and entertainment," said Vogt

"Greater Knysna locals certainly offered incredible hospitality to our visitors, and it is always important to recognise how important this great service is to ensuring that visitors return to our beautiful area. There were many acts of kindness by locals towards visitors that will be remembered by those visitors.

"One such incident was when a local cycle race marshal recognised a participant's mountain bike was faulty and took the participant to their house nearby.
"The local offered her husband's large-sized bike and insisted that the local complete the race with this bike. Random acts of kindness like this go a long way," concluded Vogt.

* For further information pertaining to the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival, visitwww.pnpoysterfestival.co.za.

Published in Festivals & events

There have been a great line up of new events at this year's Oyster Festival, but none perhaps quite as inspiring (and environmentally significant) as the Artful Waste Challenge which took place on Wednesday, July 6. On certainly one of the coldest days of the winter, a morning coupled with sporadic rain and icy winds, a total of six teams along with a unit of SANparks rangers, braved the elements to take part in an event that the Knysna Basin Project – the organisers of the event - hope will inspire change. A wave of change!

“The aim of this event, says organiser Louw Claassens, a scientist working for the Knysna Basin Project, “was to raise awareness surrounding the issues of waste in Knysna.” The seriousness of which became exceedingly apparent to all those taking place in a clean-up event earlier in the year., After scouring the southern banks of Thesen Island (a relatively small area of the estuary) at low tide for less than an hour, a total of 16 bags of trash were collected,80% of which, was plastic.

The six teams (which included two visiting teams from Cape Town) then headed to the SANparks tent at the festival grounds where teams had to make something artistic out of the trash collected. All the artworks made sent a clear message about what our trash is doing to our oceans. It is a global problem, but the solution needs to start at a grass- roots, local level, which is the message the Knysna Basin Project is attempting to relay. The Knysna Estuary, our town's most precious aquatic asset, unites with the mighty Indian Ocean in daily tidal dance... often dumping plastic that has made its way into this estuarine system. An estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans each year – a cause for great concern.

Looking after our lagoon is a collective responsibility. Each and every one of us needs to say NO to single use plastic items and the plastic that we do use must be RECYCLED!!

This event was generously supported by several local businesses: Pick n Pay, Ocean Odyssey Whale Watching and Eco Trips, Knysna Elephant Park and Metelerkamps in association with WESSA Knysna, Sanparks and Knysna Municipality and our Judge, local artist Jan Andre Raats.
For more information: www.knysnabasinproject.co.za

Published in Festivals & events

(South Africa, 7 July 2016) The penultimate event of the BIG5 Sport Challenge, The Momentum Health Oatwell DualX powered by PeptoPro, took place today at the 33rd annual Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival with Stuart Marais and Andrea Steyn clocking the fastest times in the overall and BIG5 Sport Challenge men’s and ladies races.

The popular, high endurance DualX challenge kicked off with a 5km run followed by a gruelling 30km off-road cycle and finished with another 2.5km run.
Stellenbosch-based professional triathlete, Stuart Marais, continued his dominance after winning both the 15km Featherbed Trail Run and The Momentum Weekend Argus Knysna Cycle Tour MTB Race and coming in third in a hotly contested Dragons Featherbed Lagoon Mile Swim earlier in the week. The four time BIG5 champ maintains his lead ahead of fellow triathlete Theo Blignaut.

Stuart Marais impressed with a time of 1h33m ahead of Theo Blignaut and Dean Hopf who came in second and third after three gruelling off-road challenges.
Said Stuart on his win, “In a week long activity like this you have to time your efforts. Although the Featherbed is a really hard run I felt like I held back nicely and the goal for this week was to be fresh for the Momentum Health Oatwell Dual X.

I had a great bike, and then gave the run everything I had, and it was enough.
One more event to go and The Momentum Cape Times Knysna Forest Half Marathon is such a treat, you go up in the cold morning, have a rusk and take in the atmosphere. It’s a world class half marathon and one of my favourites and I am looking forward to another fun day on the run.”

Andrea Steyn went into today’s challenge leading the pack in the ladies division and fifth on the overall BIG5 leader board. She has her sights set on claiming a 2ndconsecutive BIG5 win, having already won the Momentum Weekend Argus Knysna Cycle Tour MTB Race and the Featherbed Trail Run (15km) and coming in third for the Dragons Featherbed Lagoon Mile Swim.
Andrea finished in a time of 1h53m ahead of 2nd placed Fienie Barnard.

Andrea had a tough race today, “I think today was the toughest of all the events so far, my legs were really sore. The mountainbiking was really difficult, and Fienie is a really great mountainbiker and caught me with 10kms to go so I am really glad to have been able to stay on her wheel for the rest of the bike, and then push it in the run again to finish first.

The Momentum Health Oatwell Dual X was a great event, we were really priviledged to have it here and I am sure next year there will be a lot more people racing it.”

With the final Momentum Cape Times Knysna Forest Marathon and Half Marathon race taking place on Saturday 9 July, Marais and Steyn remain the two to watch!
The BIG5 multi-sport challenge is a highlight on the annual Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival programme and includes The Momentum Weekend Argus Knysna Cycle Tour MTB Race (80km), Dragons Featherbed Lagoon Mile Swim (1.6km), The Featherbed Trail Run (15km), The Momentum Health OatWell DualX, powered by PeptoPro (5km Run | 30km MTB | 2.5km Run), and The Momentum Cape Times Knysna Forest Marathon (21.1km).
It’s not too late to support charity by sponsoring a Big 5 Sport Challenge athlete, all you need to do is go to www.big5fundracing.co.za and pledge your amount.

For more details on the BIG5 Sports Challenge visit www.big5sportchallenge.com or follow the BIG5 Sport Challenge on social media:
· Twitter: @big5challenge
· Facebook: Facebook/Big5SportChallenge
· Instagram: Big5SportChallenge
· Hashtag: #BIG5

Men’s Race
1. Stuart Marais
2. Theo Blignaut
3. Dean Hopf

Ladies Race
1. Andrea Steyn
2. Fienie Barnard
3. Vicky van der Merwe

Men’s Race
1. Allan Houston
2. Keegan Cooke
3. Constant Viljoen

Ladies Race
1. Samantha Harrington
2. Ilse Viljoen
3. Angelique Edwards

Published in Festivals & events
Thursday, 07 July 2016 14:09

SANParks Educational Enchanted Forest

Despite the cold snap the Garden Route is currently experiencing, this year’s Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival is in full swing with something for everyone.

As with previous years, organisers have brought several new elements to the Festival, some aimed especially at the youth. One of these is the magnificent South African National Parks (SANParks) Enchanted Educational Forest.

Located on the Knysna Oyster Festival grounds, the Knysna SANParks Honorary Rangers have introduced a small and secluded piece of the Greater Knysna’s indigenous. When entering the Enchanted Forest children enjoy a 45-minute educational tour. Here they are taught about the indigenous fauna and flora and the life within the Knysna estuary.

During the tour a Ranger guides and interacts with the children while they experience live sound effects and visuals of the birds and animals.

The Enchanted Education Forest organisers have timed the tour perfectly to ensure that when the children reach a certain animal, the surround sound of the matching plays throughout the enclosure, creating a virtual tour within Knysna’s natural forests.

Watching the children’s reactions as they hear the sound it is plain to see that they are truly engrossed in this fun, stimulating and educational adventure.

Towards the end of the tour, the children are shown a short animated video on the dangers of littering and the importance of recycling. Should the tour be full for a specific session, the waiting children are entertained in a colouring-in area. Here they are given animal mask of their choice to colour-in, while they wait for the next tour to start.
Ask what had proved to be the best part of the Enchanted Educational

Forest tour, Delle Henry, Enchanted Educational Forest coordinator said: “For me it has been so incredibly satisfying to see how these children absorb all the information they are getting. It’s definitely the practical approach of associating the sounds they hear with the animals they see. ”She added that she has been approached by many parents congratulating her for providing such “an incredible setup” that has kept their children highly entertained for “a solid 45-minutes”.

Entry fee costs R20 per child with all proceeds going towards purchasing anti-poaching equipment for the SANParks Knysna Rangers.

Published in Festivals & events
Thursday, 07 July 2016 14:08

Casper Kids Adventure through forest

As part of the 33rd Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival’s many sporting events, Simola Hotel Country Club & Spa hosted a fun trail run for children aged between 6 - 12 years old, The Casper Kids Adventure Run on Saturday, July 2.

The fun filled mini obstacle course of either 2 or 4 kms saw more than 50 youngsters slip, slide and climb over the obstacles set out by the events company, Magnetic South organisers. The name of the game was fun but this didn’t stop the stars of the future from running some very fast times.

Following the race face painting, hamburgers and a movie were all thrown in to ensure that the children were well entertained while their parents readied themselves for and completed the Simola Phantom Night Run.

Published in Festivals & events

The Simola Phantom Night Forest Run, powered by Ledlenser headlamps was the newest edition to the sporting calendar at the 2016 Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival.

These 6 and 12 km routes of single track through the Knysna forest at night saw athlete negotiate the dark guided only by their headlamps.

Event organisers, Magnetic South once again showed why they are so good at what they do by keeping their growing list of events fresh and unique. This event was no different and local opera singers were placed in various positions in the forest along the route.

The 320 participating runners were treated to a surreal experience of running to the sounds of Andrew Loyd Webber’s opera echoing through the trees on a bitterly cold winter’s night.

Plettenberg Bay runner, Melikhaya Msizi blitzed the field in the 12 km race running a very impressive time of 59:30 which edged out Matthew Elson and Jacques Mouton into second and third place respectively.

The ladies race was won by Annamart Loubscher in a time of 1:03:38. She was followed by Bridget van Breda and Barbara Botes.

All trail runners were in agreement that the Simola Phantom Forest Night Run was as unique as it was fun and therefore lauded as a great success for the festival.

Published in Festivals & events
Thursday, 07 July 2016 14:04

Get dirty for charity

Located on Knysna Waterfront Drive, Dare 2 Dash, in association with the Knysna Education Trust and the Pick ‘n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival invites all (no matter of age) to join them in getting down and dirty while racing against the clock.

The Dare 2 Dash Obstacle Challenge offers both team and individual to enter, so individual can challenge their friends in teams or one on one as they work their way through the course having loads of fun.
With lots of prizes to be won, this obstacle course is a perfect activity for the entire family. Children can compete on their own as there is plenty of space for supporting parents to stand around the outskirts of the course.

In addition there are numerous staff members stratigeically placed around all the obstacles to help the children along ensuring that they get showered in a colourful array of paint powders making their experience just that more enjoyable.

All raised by the Dare 2 Dash event benefit the Knysna Education Trust that improves quality of teaching, education, learning and development for Greater Knysna children.
Dare 2 Dash invites all to join them in having fun with a cause, while they fight their way up to the top of their leader board.

Published in Festivals & events
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