Restaurants and cafés, function centres and back yards were bustling last month, with people celebrating the festive season. It is such a manic time of year and somewhat stressful, not to mention exhausting, but all is forgotten with a glass of wine in one hand, a canapé in the other and good people around you who understand your stress levels, because they are feeling the same way.
Christmas is the time for family but before you get to spend time with them, you must attend the ‘office’ party. And I managed to get to quite a few of them. First there was the Manning Valley Combined Chamber’s get together at the Bean Bar, where we enjoyed soft shell crab, a glass or two of wine and the wonderful view of the Manning River. We solved no business issues, but did manage to take a vote on our next holiday destination. The Manning Valley Business Women’s group also met at the Bean Bar, where our topic of conversation was slightly different but just as inspiring, and we enjoyed that soft shell crab just as much.
I then managed to get a gong to the Nash and Roohan Christmas party, which was held in the beautiful setting of Bowers Café – more lovely canapés and yet another bottle of sparkling wine was consumed amongst colleagues and friends. Of course, I am in the hospitality industry, so it is not all about my social life.
Bent on Food was the venue for a number of Christmas parties too, and I did my fair share of work to ensure that I deserved a night out or two. Wingham Fire Brigade was our last Christmas party for the year, and they celebrated with a three course dinner and a very moving video of the hard work that they do for our community. They are to be congratulated for their efforts during a difficult year in Wingham, and they made sure that their evening was an enjoyable one. Our own Bent on Food staff party was held in the ‘soon to be landscaped’ back yard, where we dined on local oysters, prawns and our yummy satay chicken sticks. While the Christmas celebrations overtook the month, there were other happenings too. Bent on Food also celebrated 6 years in business, with a party for our customers on Friday 17 December.
An important milestone was the 10 year celebration of the Manning’s premier vocal ensemble – Kantabile. The Manning Regional Art Gallery was the perfect venue for Kantabile’s final performance of the year at its tenth anniversary concert. The evening’s musical programme was a choice of favourites from the previous ten years, with new music having its first appearance. The evening was made exceptionally special by an enthusiastic and appreciative audience, which was also treated to a delicious supper organised by Dusty Walkom, supplied by FOGS and exquisite sweets provided by Kantabile members. Kantabile spend their time performing for the people of the region, so a well deserved 10th anniversary celebration dinner was held in the beautiful backdrop of the paddocks with the sun setting over Kolodong at Bowers Café. Fifty guests enjoyed delicious food and some exceptional choral items sung by Kantabile and accompanied on piano by Richard Crook. Cynthia and her fabulous team presented Kantabile with a delicious 10th anniversary chocolate cake of the most delicious kind and the evening finished in a most spirited manner, having celebrated a milestone in style!
Bowers Café was also the venue for Good Beginnings final fundraiser for the year, with 40 people enjoying a lovely Sunday lunch. Recently retired Good Beginnings Australia board chairman Ian Sinclair welcomed guests and acknowledged the excellent work of Taree staff members Dianne Mead and Grant Patterson. Ian and Rosemary noted the generous support of so many who participate in the fundraising events, organised by a small band of willing workers.
The beautiful wedding of Sheree Crittenden and Jason Solomon was held at Oxley Park, overlooking the Wallis Lake channel, at Tuncurry, on Saturday November 27.
Sheree is a daughter of Reginald and Patrecia Crittenden, of Tuncurry; Jason is a son of the late Ross Solomon, of Rainbow Flat, near Taree, and Fay Solomon, of Tuncurry.
Forster civil celebrant Joseph Court officiated, and the reception was held at Tuncurry Bowling Club.
Recently, Annie Rothbury from Pandora was on hand at Occasions Jewellers Taree to help launch the new Pandora collection. Celebrations were in full swing, as the team at Occasion Jewellers was also celebrating the new look store. Customers were delighted with their gift bags and lucky door prizes, and a good time was had by all.
Well, over 100 Redhead residents attended the 12th annual Redhead Christmas party on Wednesday December 15 in the Redhead Reserve. Santa put in his usual appearance later in the evening and the Redhead Christmas light display was judged, with Molly, Maddison and Schafer Aiken crowned the winners of the ‘best Christmas lights display in Redhead’. As this year’s winners, they will have the honour of judging next year’s competition.
I would like to wish readers a prosperous and happy 2011. Wow, it is a new decade! Let’s welcome it and make some positive changes to our lives. Go on, I dare you!
I look forward to hearing from you with any events you would like me to write about.
Send pics and info to email@example.com
After taking home a State Award, we find out how Donna from Bent on Food does it!
It is that time of year where life gets back to normal; the kids have gone back to school, the festive season is way over and it is time to kick back, relax and put those New Year’s resolutions to work.
One of mine was to have more fun, relax and exercise more, and I covered all three when I spent a sunny Sunday afternoon in January at Harrigans at Harrington, sipping Rosé and listening to Lisa Hunt performing on the lawn by the river. Lisa is a major diva, and the atmosphere at Harrigans is great.
We all had a brilliant time dancing into the night to the sounds of soul performed with energy. Lisa’s favourite performer is Aretha Franklin, and she does some great versions of her work.
Bent on Food’s theme for the first music night for the year was ‘Dress to Kill’. The theme was chosen for Black Friday 13th February, with James Johnston performing for an intimate crowd of 30 people while they dined.
James is a Wingham High School student who has been fortunate in being able to make his way in a world of professional entertainment from an unusually early beginning. Although now only 18 years of age, his on stage experiences extend back many years, and as a consequence his performances have achieved a level of maturity and expertise beyond his years. James played some of his own tracks along with some old favourites to get the crowd rocking.
I was fortunate and privileged to be invited along to speak as a mentor for the young ambassadors program on the evening of the judging held at Club Taree. I witnessed a group of young individuals who were doing great things for the community, and I was extremely proud to be amongt them. Congratulations to all the young ambassadors for their determination and the courage to enter this great program. Congratulations also to the organisers of the Summer Festival for their great work.
I know that Port Macquarie is not in the Manning Valley or the Great Lakes, but I did see many Manning Valley and Great Lakes residents enjoying a day out at the picturesque Cassegrain Winery on February 7th. It was a great day with many great performers, including the wonderful and talented Ani DiFranco. Thanks to Sand Events for their support of live music and for bringing such great acts to our region, and it’s great to see people travelling to support these concerts.
On Sunday, February 15th the vivacious Kate Blenkin held a luncheon at her place for a large group of women otherwise known as the ‘Wingham Beauties’. The theme of the day was op shop florals, and weren’t there some lovely frocks to be seen? But better still were some of Grandma’s hats. We dined on excellent food courtesy of Kate and shared lots of lovely girl moments, with no gossip allowed!
Donations were made to Dr Catherine Hamlin’s Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia.
A surprise 60th birthday party was held for Jan North in a marquee at Diamond Beach in January, where around 40 guests dined on a selection of canapés. The canapé menu was all cold due to the absence of electricity and included Bloody Mary oyster shots and mini crab cakes with lime mayonnaise. Jan was very pleased with her surprise party, and the family did a fantastic job at keeping it a secret.
Good Beginnings held a fundraiser at Bent on Food on Friday 6th February, with around 25 guests. Rosemary Sinclair gave an update on what is happening in our area with this wonderful charity.
The dinner was attended by our mayor Paul Hogan and his wife Patti, who praised the efforts of Rosemary and her team. The fundraisers will be ongoing, and plans are being made for a wine and food dinner along with Christmas in July.
There are many great events coming up in our region in March, including some important fundraisers, so get out there and have fun and support the community. Please email me with any events you have attended and send me some pics, so that I can include them in the social pages.