12 October 2011
About 3500 people passed through the gates at the weekend’s Heathcote Wine and Food Festival, despite the forecast for wet weather.
Wine lovers and festival revellers travelled from far and wide to be in Heathcote to indulge in the fine wine and food the region has become renowned for.
City of Greater Bendigo (COGB) mayor Rod Fyffe, Member for Rodney Paul Weller and Senator Bridget McKenzie attended the festival on Sunday to meet exhibitors and sample some of the fare on offer.
Heathcote Winegrowers executive officer Henry Screen said Saturday was the bigger day.‘‘Most of the wineries I’ve spoken to had good sales and were very happy,’’ he said.
‘‘It was also more successful than last year, especially because the Saturday was so big.’’
The forecast for the weekend had been for a sunny day with a few showers on Saturday and for rain on Sunday, but in the end the weather turned out to be the opposite, with heavy rain hitting the festival mid-afternoon on Saturday and the sun shining on Sunday.
On Saturday, thousands were caught out when dark clouds rolled in at about 1.30pm and rain started falling heavily soon after.
Picnic rugs became raincoats and patrons made a dash for the exhibitor tents to shelter from the rain, but it did little to affect the high spirits of those attending.
Sunday was a quieter day with fewer through the gates, which many put down to the weather in Melbourne and the racing in Bathurst.
‘‘I think it was mainly due to the fact it was raining in Melbourne,’’ Mr Screen said.
‘‘When they look outside, they think it’s like that everywhere.’’
However, Michael Evan and Peter Findlay — both from Melbourne — said they were having a great time at the festival and had brought their families with them to enjoy the day.
Wine wasn’t the only attraction with food vendors swamped by hungry patrons looking for a good feed to complement the great wines on offer.
Heathcote Tourism and Development president Wayne McKay said he was happy with the turnout for the festival, which was a major drawcard for the region and an important event for the town.