Thursday, 18 September 2014

Sample Food Festival 2014 & Swell Sculpture Festival

Wow what a great weekend we had down in beautiful northern NSW.  Mr Pickings and I headed down for a 3 day weekend to check out a couple of festivals- the Swell Sculpture Festival on the Gold Coast and the Sample Food Festival at Bangalow.  I had entered a food competition that Sample was holding, and wanted to go check out the winner (sadly not me).  It was one of those magical weekends away when everything just clicks, and all is right with the world.  Well, how could it not be when it involved all my fave things?- hubby and me (or is that I?) on a break, food, festivals, art and the most gorgeous scenery around.  Oh and we even spotted a Hollywood star!  And don't forget the occasional whale sighting, plus scarlet wrens, curlews, dragons, goslings -so cute, sea eagles, cup runneth over with delight. (have I mentioned before that I am a secret twitcher?  that is bird watcher for the uninitiated).  So off we went in our little yellow car (her name is Buttercup) tootling down the highway, filled with anticipation for the weekend ahead.
Swell is a marvellous festival held every September on Currumbin Beach.  There are usually about 50 sculptures, literally sitting on the sand, where visitors can wander around, touch them (naughty) and get up close and personal.  There are artists' talks, twilight walks, night time lights, and workshops for kids and adults.  If you have any interest in art/sculpture, this really is a must-do.  This year was the 12th annual Festival; here's hoping there are many more.  I find it a really magical and marvellous event, and wouldn't miss it for the world.

glorious artworks at Swell

We wended our way down the highway into deepest, darkest NSW, heading for our motel in Pottsville.  We were pleasantly surprised by this little gem of a town, and by the motel which was comparatively inexpensive, clean and modern after a refurbishment this year.  The sea is just a couple of hundred metres behind the motel, and is glorious (I keep saying that word) and very serene; and best of all, we were virtually the only people on it!

A white yacht was sailing off into the distance; and yes this shell was very long!      
There were many, many mangrove seeds along the beach as  you can see                 

Next day we headed out to Bangalow, trying to get there early enough to avoid the big crowds.  Even by 9.40am, the crowds were starting to swell, and people were drinking champagne already!  Apparently there was a record crowd this year, so I guess it can only get bigger next year.  We wandered around the food stalls, and bought local sparkling water from a lovely young girl who leapt out from the stall in hot pursuit of actor Chris Hemsworth who was trying but perhaps not succeeding in being incognito.  I suppose it didn't help when I walked by him and yelped- "oh look that's Chris Hemsworth" to my clueless spouse (even tho he likes that movie Thor).  Bangalow Showgrounds are seemingly endless, with lovely trees and plenty of parking- well at that time of day anyway.  We sat and watched the winner cook up his successful dish using local macadamia products- macadamia coconut chicken satay.  It was really delicious and spicy; not surprising since the winner owns the Byron Bay Chilli Co.

the day was sunny and the crowds were happy and hungry

the winner of the macadamia comp.with chef Alex Herbert;  lovely ladies selling Bangalow Banquet cookbook  
delish pork bun from 100miletable;  actor Chris Hemsworth giving some local lads a big thrill!                                 

coffee truck; Zest Byron Bay spice pastes and blends; tasty chicken satay

 the cutest, blue-est car parked in downtown Bangalow
local sparkling water from nearby Mt Warning              
lovely CWA ladies being storefront mannequins;          
                           stunning purple tibouchina flowers outside the local school                    

The CWA ladies were a real hoot.  They took turns sitting in the front window of the store, knitting and laughing and having a ball.  I peeked inside the store and there was another (young) lady dressed in fifties gear and dancing up a storm in the doorway.  There was such a wonderful atmosphere in the town, and everyone seemed to be having heaps of fun.  I bought the Bangalow Banquet cookbook from the lovely ladies at the Festival stall, and I will be posting up a recipe or 2 down the track.
More to come from our northern NSW trip in the next post!


  1. Hi Sherry, looks like a great event, beautiful pictures.

  2. Sherry, both the festivals hat you visited look wonderful - the Sculpture Festival must have been so interesting and the Food Festival look like it was a ton of fun with lots of different things to discover and taste - certainly must have been one wonderful weekend!
    Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving such a kind comment! And nice to get to know your blog!

    1. hi andrea
      they were both wonderful festivals. we had such a good weekend away. thanks for visiting my blog.
      i will keep an eye on your blog!

  3. Looks like a great weekend, and I am soooo jealous, I love Chris Hemsworth :)

    1. i know sara. he is gorgeous and so tall. i was def. starstruck!

  4. I went to the Bangalow Sample Food Festival last year and loved it. Was a shame I missed it this year so it was nice to read about your experience Sherry!

    1. hi Jem
      it was a great day out. i am glad we went early as it apparently got very busy a bit later in the day. their most successful one yet they said!

  5. What a gorgeous day! It looks like there is a bit of everything for everyone! :D

    1. hi lorraine
      yes it was a most fab day! we really enjoyed ourselves.

  6. Replies
    1. Hi Maureen
      Yes indeedy we had a marvellous time away.


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