When the sun disappeared on Sunday morning, I could sense the community’s worry that rain was on its way. However, the grey clouds lingered but the rain never came, so final stalls were erected and the celebrations began.
The annual Lara Food and Wine Festival, hosted at Pirra Homestead in Lara’s countryside, is a day that brings the entire community together. The festivities started at 10am and within half an hour people were flooding through the gates, finding places to set up their picnic rugs and chairs, ready to experience the fresh produce that the City of Greater Geelong offers. With live music being shared all day and plenty of room for the kids to dance and play, everybody got to enjoy the food, wine and the great outdoors.
The gardens of the 1880’s homestead was lined with stalls showcasing local produce from Geelong and surrounds. With a huge variety of foods from Indian, to Spanish and Vietnamese to the classics like, hot potatoes and fish and chips, everybody’s taste buds were being satisfied.
Local vineyards and brewery’s, such as Little Creatures, Flying Brick Cider Co and Jack Rabbit, were showcasing their favourite creations with wine and cider tastings, as well as the new craze of frozen rosé.
As well as being able to buy gourmet produce, Celebrity Television Chef, Janelle Bloom from Ready, Steady, Cook was hosting a variety of cooking demonstrations with apprentice chefs from Geelong based TAFE, The Gordon.
Whilst the parents were being entertained by the live music, cooking demonstrations and wine tasting, the children had a few activities to keep them occupied as well. Local fire brigades were showing the kids how their trucks and hoses worked, there were balloon animals and face painting by local party host, The Party Girl.
For mums, the children’s area also came with a breast-feeding tent to get away from the crowds and enjoy some alone time.
The entire day hosted the most amazing community feel. People were catching up with each other for the first time in months and even years. People were venturing from Geelong, The Surf Coast and even parts of Melbourne.
“We decided to do something different this year and come down for the day, it hasn’t disappointed us, my two boys are loving the chocolate fountain stall,” Cassie Loughlin, from Footscray, said.
Local artists showcased their painting and design skills which were on display in three of the rooms inside Pirra House. The restoration of the historic mansion was nothing but spectacular, with two rooms open and restored to their natural setting for visitors to admire and photograph, it was just like stepping back in time.
“The Food and Wine Festival in the past has been a gold coin donation, this year it was $5 entry for adults, but it hasn’t deterred anybody by the looks of things. We’ve had a fantastic day!” Lara resident Sarah Andrews said.