The Nestle Ice Cream Strawberry Festival, one of the largest family festivals in South Africa’s Garden Route, completed its 11th successful year over the weekend of 25- 27 September, and attracted a record number of day visitors, writes Sharon House.
It is set in the magnificent farm countryside at Redberry Farm in George and showcases the icon of the festival – delicious strawberries. We had a fantastic weekend indulging in strawberries and enjoying family. On Saturday the 26th of September, the festival hosted the most people ever over one day of the festival, with 5090 visitors streaming in through the gates.
The Nestle Ice Cream Strawberry Festival opened on the Friday night with a comedy evening by PE entertainer Gino Fabbri. Gino had the audience on their feet and roaring with laughter, and ended the evening to a standing ovation.
The Saturday and Sunday featured a full programme of lifestyle pursuits, offering things to do for adults and children. Attractions included live music featuring South African artist Matthew Mole, who drew in an audience of a 1000 people, sold out berry and wine pairings with gourmet strawberry tapas combined with Jakkalsvlei wines, a Strawberry Emporium to enjoy all-things-strawberry and rugby screenings inside the beer tent. Other activities included an inflatable kids play park and a variety of kids entertainment, music by local musicians Adin Walls, Daveymac and the All and All’s, an outdoor market, stage arena with Nestle ice cream and strawberry eating competitions for kids, dance acts and outdoor theatre, the main strawberry eating competition and popular sports events for trail running, mountain biking and CrossFit. KayCee Rossouw brought the Algoa FM Vibe and mixed between 11am – 2pm on the Saturday, with live crossovers to Algoa FM.
Strawberries were centre stage inside the Strawberry Emporium where visitors enjoyed a selection of strawberry treats and visited the chocolate fountain and strawberries-and-cream scoop stations. The Berry Bar offered a festoon of berry cocktails, imported strawberry beers and ciders. Delectable Redberry Farm strawberries were available according to variety which was interesting because you could browse the nuances of the types and decide which appealed to you the most. Scarlett the Strawberry was a popular stop for a print-out photo to take home.
The strawberry eating competition is an annual feature of the Nestle Ice Cream Strawberry Festival and the record set last year of 1.788kg of strawberries eaten in three minutes was not broken. First place winner ate 1.195 and took home a R1000 cash prize.
Family activities included strawberry picking in the fields and the Redberry Farm hedge maze. The maze is the largest permanent hedge maze in the Southern Hemisphere and was very fun. Each station has information about a strawberry and you have to find all seven stations to complete the maze, thus discovering “the secrets of a strawberry”.
The kids had a lot of fun inside the play park on the lawns, stocked with a range of inflatables and kiddies stalls. Other children’s activities included bumper and paddle boats on the dam, water bubble ball, pony rides, miniature train rides, bunge bunge, carousel, sand art and a wooden playground.
100% of the profits from the Saturday and Sunday of the Nestle Ice Cream Strawberry Festival are given to the Outeniqua Tourism Association, who receive 60%, and to charity Options Care Centre, who receive 40%. The Friday night opening evening is a fundraising collaboration in aid of York High School.
View more info about the Nestle Ice Cream Strawberry Festival at www.strawberryfestival.co.za