North Taranaki Midweek
‘Feastival’ returns after Covid hiatus
Taranaki’s food festival is back and bigger than ever, with 18 events for people to gobble up.
Feastival, which will return from September 1 to 4, started in 2018 by Rachel Church as Taranaki’s answer to Wellington on a Plate.
It has been on hiatus since 2019 due to the pandemic, but Church said that time was a blessing, giving her the chance to fine tune and change it from menu offerings at restaurants to events to attend.
‘‘Changing from menu-based platform to an event-based platform ensures it really gives people a fresh experience.
‘‘It’s something new, these events are not something that you can just walk into a restaurant on a Friday night and try.’’
Taranaki, Church was able to access consulting with Sarah Meikle, chief executive of Visa Wellington on a Plate.
Meikle came to the region to meet with Church, and they collaborated with those in the industry about what a food festival should mean for Taranaki and what it should look like.
‘‘We really wanted to create something that reflects the beautiful maunga, the rivers, the ocean, all the volcanic soil, all the things that we can produce here. ‘‘That’s what makes us unique.’’ Originally, Church was doing everything herself, but now she has a committee of 13 chaired by Suzanne Porter, chief executive of Taranaki Arts Festival Trust, and Jessica Parker, events manager at the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce.
The festival will now run seasonally for two long weekends a year and all information and event tickets can be found at festival.co.nz.
This season’s events vary from Shining Peak hosting a lunch at Stratford Mountain House around their beer Fanny Fantham’s Lager and sharing stories around the woman it is based on, to a free presentation by Jody Roebuck on locally grown food.
The weekend has 18 events showcasing more than 25 local producers.
‘‘It’s really focusing on collaboration, and we have things going on all around the mountain. They’re just a way for you to come out and experience the region and to look at the different producers that we have here.’’