Wilderness Cheese Festival postponed to 13 May 2016
George (21 July 2015) – After serious consideration the date of the Wilderness Cheese Festival was moved from 11 – 13 September to 13 – 15 May 2016.
“It was not an easy decision,” said Lynette Whittaker of Omni Marketing. “In the light of the George Agriculture Show’s recent announcement to present a Cheese and Wine Festival from 27 – 29 August, we realised that it would not be feasible to continue with our arrangements.”
The date for the Wilderness Cheese Festival was already announced in the media when the Agriculture Show made its decision known.
The Vodacom George Cheese Festival has been a highlight on the George annual calendar for the past 12 years. The festival, which was organised by Outeniqua Primary School as a fundraising event, came to an end when the main sponsor withdrew and the festival simply outgrew the venue.
New organisers Omni Marketing enthusiastically jumped at the opportunity to build on the successes of the George Cheese Festival, which attracted 7000 visitors and 85 stalls last year.
“We are planning a festival of outstanding quality that will take the tradition of the Cheese Festival to new heights,” said Whittaker.
“The Wilderness Cheese Festival will focus on cheese and wine products. Several well-known chefs have already indicated their willingness to bring their food expertise to the festival to ensure a culinary experience second to none.”
“We would like to realize the expectations of regular visitors to the George Cheese Festival. We also do not want to undo the hard work of Outeniqua Primary volunteers who contributed to the original festival’s success, but rather build on it.”
Whittaker said the organisers aimed to invite a wide range of exhibitors that would offer their excellent local cheeses and wines. “The cheese makers and cellars indicated that they will hardly be able to provide required volumes to two such festivals in such a short span of time. It is also not viable to expect visitors to travel to George and Wilderness, which are 11km apart, and to buy these products at both events.”
There is also a very real risk that sponsors will shy away from yet another similar festival, bearing in mind that the recent Knysna Oyster Festival offered similar fare. “If we cannot find suitable sponsors the local businesses and residents will have to foot the whole bill.”
Instead of presenting the Wilderness Cheese Festival at an inopportune moment and thereby demolishing the excellent image it has gained over more than a decade, it was decided to rather postpone it.
“We decided to turn the Wilderness Cheese Festival into an Autumn festival where visitors from all over the country can replenish their cheese and wine stocks before the onset of winter.”
The picturesque village of Wilderness on the N2 provides an excellent alternative venue. The Wilderness Hotel will house the main venue and food stalls, while the garden and lawns surrounding the sparkling pool will provide a superb background for activities. More stalls will spill over onto the commons, where ample parking is available. Wilderness residents and local businesses have already indicated that they are keen to participate in the Festival in order to make it a truly memorable community project.
“We are looking forward to welcome visitors to the Wilderness Cheese Festival on 13 May 2016. We are set to create a new sustainable tradition.”