Woolgoolga welcomes Curryfest as Miguel Maestre steals the show

Miguel Maestre, the absolute star of Curryfest, giving 100 percent of his magnanimous personality demonstrating his new biryani-paella fusion dish on stage, channelling his ‘Sikh warrior’ and zipping around amongst the audience. Photo: Keri Dowling.

CURRYFEST 2022 covered a lot of ground keeping thousands of locals and visitors happy and fed on Saturday 24 September.

From traditional Punjabi cultural dancing, food trucks galore lining Woolgoolga’s Beach Street adjacent to the Beach Reserve, and L-Fresh the Lion performing live hip-hop on the Main Stage, it was perhaps guest celebrity chef, Miguel Maestre, who stole the show.

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Miguel, Star of Network 10’s The Living Room, exploded onto the Moonee Beach Hotel Cooking Zone with his unique style and infectious personality serving up three cooking demonstrations throughout the day.

The crowd, glad of shaded seating, watched, cheered and lapped up Miguel’s interactive demos.

Whipping up a whopping biryani/biryani fusion dish, the mesmerising showman had to be the highlight of the day.

In a social media statement, Miguel said, “I feel so lucky today, just for one day I get to be a Sikh warrior.”

And it was a sunny day after two days of deluge, bringing sighs of relief from organisers, participants and visitors.

Gates opened at 9am and just after 10am Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh mounted the Main Stage, welcoming everyone and declaring Curryfest open saying, “Let’s celebrate Punjabi culture.”

Pam Fayle from Woolgoolga & Northern Beaches Chamber of Commerce, the organisation which owns the event, told News Of The Area, “The Chamber of Commerce was thrilled with the turn out…so many out-of-town visitors and strong support from locals.

“The weather gods were kind until near the end.

“It was great to have the festival sounds, tastes and colour back.

“Celebrity chef Miguel and the colourful Bhangra dancers were a huge hit as was the T20 cricket trophy and Regional Roadshow stand.

“Our event managers Another Tasty Event and major sponsors Oz Group have put Curryfest back on track after a rough few years,” said Pam.

Sam Hill, President Woolgoolga & Northern Beaches Chamber of Commerce told NOTA, “Curryfest is an amazing event and puts Woolgoolga on the map.

“What better way to celebrate our local tourism opportunities than here today at Curryfest.

“We also have an army of volunteers to thank.”

Sam also acknowledged the funding that supported Curryfest to come back from two Covid cancellations to finally deliver the sixteenth Curryfest in September 2022: the NSW Government’s Regional Events Acceleration Fund,
a Festivals grant and event funding from City of Coffs Harbour Council, as well as major sponsors Oz Group and Moonee Beach Hotel.

See www.curryfest.com.au/ for all sponsors.

On the main stage, Cr Julie Sechi raised a cheer from the crowd, saying, “Curryfest is truly unique and brings so many people to the Coffs Coast which is great news for the local economy.”

Curryfest is run by a not-for-profit and relies on grant funding, sponsorship and selling the stallholder sites as well as a small entry fee on the gate.

The Chamber of Commerce shares each year’s Curryfest profits with the volunteer organisations that contribute to the event, such as Woolgoolga SLSC and The Red Cross.

James Kellaway, CEO of major sponsor Oz Group Co-op told NOTA, “Oz Group is a recurring sponsor.

“It’s one of the local events where we support the community, and they support us…it’s a mutually symbiotic relationship.”

A huge pat on the back goes to the organisers, Another Tasty Event.

Now it’s time to give them your comments so they can deliver an even better experience next year; see the survey at https://curryfest.au/survey

“To keep our festival growing and evolving, we need your feedback,” said the event organiser.

“Remember, the weather and stalls pulling out at the last minute are out of our control, so there is no point putting that in there,” they shared.

Diary date alert: Curryfest 2023 is Saturday 23 September.


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