A POPULAR festival in Portarlington this weekend will mussel up on family fun, with an increased number of children’s activities on offer.
Held on Saturday January 12, the 13th annual Portarlington Mussel Festival will feature The Mambo Jambos, Dazzling Dan the Magic Man, Toby the Dinosaur and the Titanic slide.
Festival president Richard Underwood said organisers wanted to focus a bit more on children’s activities this year to keep the family atmosphere alive and well.
The headline act this year will be Kate Daley and Band celebrating the music of Fleetwood Mac.
Each year more than 10 tonnes of local mussels are sold and all visitors get to taste the famous Portarlington mussels in a variety of ways.
With 120 food and drink stalls, market stalls, great local musicians playing across five stages, roving entertainers for the kids, plus art shows, cooking demonstrations and local beer and wine tastings, it is always a great day out for the whole
Mr Underwood said what he loved about the festival – which boasted about 270 volunteers each year – was that it was a true community event.
“We have about 15 community organisations with stalls, which contributes to that community environment that we really treasure,” Mr Underwood said.
“It will be this group’s (pictured) tenth mussel festival, which will be special to us, but the 13th festival overall.
“We hope we have another successful year, we’re pretty proud of the $171,000 we’ve contributed back into the community on the Northern Bellarine and we’d like to think we could hit $200,000 this year, which would be a great achievement in 10 years.”
Mr Underwood said the festival started small with a total budget for its third year of $20,000, which was what was now spent on marquees alone.
“It’s grown exponentially in a lot of respects and we keep adding each year,” he said.
“We are not having the truck for a second stage this year, we are having another stage to lift the professionalism of the festival as well.”
Mr Underwood said the festival wouldn’t occur without its wonderful volunteers who donated their time each year, and its committee.
“We had a meeting on Tuesday night and I said how pleasing it was that people accept their responsibilities and just go away and do it, and it takes the pressure off what is a really big day for us – it just doesn’t happen overnight.”
The Portarlington Mussel Festival is on Saturday January 12 from 9.30am to 5pm, and all it costs is $5 per adult (kids are free).
For more information, visit the website at portmusselfestival.com.