Margaret Fleming of Fleming Berries shows off some delicious home-made waffles. mm172419

Scott Thomas and Narelle Jones of Burra Brewing Co. enjoyed the opportunity to showcase their local beers at the Loch Village Food and Wine Festival. mm182419

THE Loch Village Food and Wine Festival drew in more than 4500 people at the weekend – the largest crowd ever recorded in the 12 years it’s been running.
And, most importantly, it was thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers that ensured a brilliant festival, with all proceeds being directed back into the local community.
“There was a big emphasis on Gippsland produce,” says one of the organisers, Mark Heath.
“We reckon there was around 4500 to 4600 people. We had saffron growers, truffle growers, specialist beef growers, pop-up restaurant The Grove, and others.
“Probably judging by all the phone calls I got last night, about 80 per cent of the vendors completely sold out,” he said on Tuesday.
All the money raised goes back into the community through the Loch Community Development Association.
Recently, the association’s given money to the Bena Hall for an upgrade of the bathrooms, local families who are struggling, and the Loch Primary School for musical instruments, as well as helping out with funds so a local girl could travel to Darwin after making the state netball team.
“We ran a fairly successful social media campaign in the lead up to the event.
“Most importantly, it was the quality of the vendors and the people. When you do events like that, you’ve got to have good quality.”
Mark and wife Jane go through all the applications from vendors to ensure no-one’s doubling up on products.
“The Sunnyside Park area between the festival and the village was also a hit with pony rides, and the schools and kinders with face painting.”
We can’t wait to see what organisers have
instore for next year!