Welcome again friends
This month Masterchef got in the way of my social life; I was with Poh and Julie watching the breakdowns and the triumphs, learning how to use various cuts of goat, and thanking God it wasn’t me under that pressure – although I did think that two tarts in two hours would have been a snack.
Justeen was my favourite and I was sad to see her go, but Chris, on the other hand, was far too confident, so I was glad to see the back of him. In all honesty, I take my hat off to all of them; they cooked for the kings and queens of cuisine, they stuck it out and they treated each other kindly – most of the time. Anyway, if the social page is a bit lean, forgive me and blame Masterchef.
Still on food, the night of nights for North Coast restaurateurs was held at the Pacific Bay Resort, Coffs Harbour in June, where our own kings and queens of cuisine competed at the 2009 Northern Region Restaurant and Catering Awards in around 30 categories. Restaurants, cafés and bistros from Bulahdelah to Byron Bay were represented, and finalists from our region included Kingfisher Café at Blueys Beach, Bella Bellissimo at Forster, 3 Nippers at Diamond Beach and Bent on Food at Wingham. Congratulations to all finalists and winners.
What happens when 27 girls come together for a weekend of scrapbooking? Surely it is an excuse for a party? Or a chance to get away from the kids? Or the husband? Or all of the above?
Scrapbooking for a whole weekend might be just what the doctor ordered for a stressed out, overcommitted gal like myself, a great way to unwind. My only request … can I bring wine?
These girls travelled from Brisbane, Sydney, Tumut and the local area to attend a relaxing weekend at Camp Elin under the watchful eye of Alita from ScrapaWhile in Taree.
On the Saturday night, the ladies morphed into their favourite characters for a fancy dress party with an appearance from Dr Who, Hannah Montana, and several of McClouds daughters … now you’re talking!
Mrs Bronwyne Wallace, Mistress of Ceremonies, presided over an evening of ‘lady games’ at the second annual Fistula Trust Fundraiser held in Taree on Saturday, July 18th.
The evening raises funds for donation and purchase of undergarments for the ladies of Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia. Over forty ladies engaged in elegant events, including the fine art of competitive curtsying, stiletto racing, speed knitting, the lar-di-da (poncing about) and fine supper.
Over $850 was raised, and Mrs Deborah Hunt of Tinonee was declared Lady of the Evening by a distinguished and dignified panel of judges.
Good Beginnings held their quarterly fundraiser on 10th July, with a traditional two course ‘Christmas in July’ dinner complete with trimmings and an auction of beautiful, big, homemade puddings.
Around 40 people attended the fundraiser at Bent on Food, and guests included Mave and Eric Richardson, Graham and Ruth Brown, and Geoff and Judy Fuller. Rosemary Sinclair spoke about some of the programs that Good Beginnings Taree are working on, including a picnic in the clock park for The Tuesday Biripi Group, which was a huge success, with the attendance of some grandparents and dads – who all had an enjoyable day.
Good Beginnings Australia is about giving children a good start in life, and the Taree division is very successful, with many wonderful initiatives. And don’t forget that part of the profits from the Flair Awards go towards Good Beginnings, so make an effort to attend the awards evening on the 29th August and you will be helping to give young people a good foundation in life.
The Peggy Van Zalm band was back on the 11th July, playing for an audience of 40 people. It was a night out for our Visitors Information staff and their partners, who do a wonderful job looking after our tourists.
The audience enjoyed the usual dreamy sounds of Peggy, along with Geoff Nant on percussion and the delightful Sandra Kwa on piano. We are lucky to have such talent in our very own backyard. We all love hearing Peggy and the band, and we promise it will not be so long between gigs.
Now this wedding happened a few months ago, but I thought it was worth mentioning as the beautiful bride and groom are well known and loved by many. Adam Reeve and Shellee Thomas were married at Blackhead Beach By Wendy Ballard, with six bridesmaids and one bridesman each wearing different colours of the rainbow, the 6 groomsmen wearing matching coloured ties, making up a huge wedding party of 21.
Shellee wore an Alfred Angelo A-line gown with encrusted beading and crystals covering the bust of the gown. Adam wore a casual suit shirt with black suit pants and vest, topping off his outfit with white thongs.
The reception for 120 guests was held at Black Head Surf Club overlooking the beach, and catering was by ‘Catering by Blues’. The photography was by Kirk Owers from Boomerang Beach.
Mr and Mrs Reeve honeymooned at New Zealand and the Cook Islands.
Last week some of our local girls met the talented Ben Vietch from the 2009 series of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ at the Sherrieanne Christie Dance and Talent Academy in Sydney, and they then had the pleasure of attending a dance school by Ben in Taree on 24th July. (Please see above for a picture of the dance enthusiasts with Ben.)
Only 5 more sleeps until we board the Orient Express at the Wingham Town Hall … can’t wait. See you next month.
Please email me with any events you have attended or organised and send me some pics so that I can include them in the social pages. I can only write about what I am aware of, so be sure to share some information with me.
Welcome friends to the June Social Scene
There is nothing like a flood to slow people down, with many local events having to be toned down or called off due to the recent rains. Unfortunately, the Beef Week parade was without moo cows, but that did not stop a full house from partying well into the night at the Nash and Roohan Beef Barons Ball on 23rd May. This event is sold out every year and the 2009 ball was packed out, with local belles donning their evening gowns and suit hire outlets doing a roaring trade as the best dressed male and female were hotly contested.
Guests barn-danced into the wee hours, and rumour has it that it was the best ball in years.
The weather is clearing now just in time for the men in kilts to arrive for the Bonnie Wingham Scottish Festival on 30th and 31st May. We certainly wouldn’t want cold weather this weekend, if it is true what they say about what is under those kilts. I guess that’s why they drink lots of whisky – to keep warm! I will tell you all about those kilts next month.
Good Beginnings held a food and wine fundraiser for 30 people at Bent on Food on May 1st, with four courses all specifically matched to some lovely Printhie Wines from Orange.
The four course menu was very exciting, and it was great to be able to source some excellent regional produce and to do something extra special.
Guests included Mayor Paul Hogan and Patty Hogan, Geraldine Smith, Dyana and Peter Brown and Judy and Peter Colless.
Rosemary Sinclair gave an update on the Good Beginnings charity and spoke about all the new initiatives, including the new Biripi playgroup, which is the first Indigenous playgroup operating under the Australia wide Good Beginnings banner. Renowned saxophonist Jeff Speed came from Bellingen to play for the evening.
Around 25 tourism operators, media and members of Council attended the launch of the 7 Natural Wonders of the Manning Valley media campaign, held on Friday 7th May at the Visitors Information Centre in Taree.
November is the month of the horse race that stops a nation, and this November we also saw the production that stopped a valley.
I was thrilled to see Taree Arts Council’s production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, and I am pleased to say that I do not know too many people who missed it. I experienced great pride that I knew some of these talented performers, who seemed to be enjoying every moment of their performance in their beautiful outfits, bringing those magical felines to life.
It was absolutely amazing, and I was entertained and fascinated throughout the whole evening. Congratulations to Gayle Cameron, who does a wonderful job with everything she puts her hand to, and to all the wonderful performers and crew.
Melbourne Cup Day was celebrated in its usual fashion, with hats, new outfits and fascinators (I even purchased my first ever feathered headpiece). Tellers Restaurant at Wingham held a luncheon, where we dined on a wonderful smorgasbord of fresh seafood, spatchcock, great salads and lovely home made breads. There were prizes for the best dressed couple and the best hat, with that prize going deservedly to Avril, the chef. The sparkling flowed well into the afternoon, and a great day was had by all.
The NAB Manning Valley Business awards were held this month, with great support from local businesses. This was the first time the awards have been held, and the committee was pleased with the result. Around 150 people attended the awards presentation at the Winning Post Function Centre. Guests were entertained by local musician Kate Delaney and magician Jay Scott Berry, and it was a great chance to network with local business people.
Chief judge Paul McIntyre said the standard of entries were outstanding, which gave his panel some difficult decisions. There were 20 trophies awarded and the winners were:
BUSINESS OF YEAR – Prosharp Taree; RETAIL Large – Terry White Chemists; Medium – Old Bar Cellars; Small – Harrington Butchery – winner – Visio Corp Belinda; Centrepoint Butchery – Outstanding Achievement.
RESTAURANT and CATERING – Bent On Food Wingham – Winner; The Waterbird Restaurant Manning Point – Outstanding Achievement; Martines Old Bar – Outstanding Achievement.
SERVICES – Large – Newcastle Permanent Building Society Taree – Winner; Medium – Prosharp Taree; Small – Steve Wills Mechanical Repairs Wingham; Midcoast Documents Services Taree – Outstanding Achievement.
PROFESSIONAL SERVICES – Medium – Nash and Roohan Wingham; Small – Valley Vets Wingham; Wingham Eyecare – Outstanding Achievement.
ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD – The Waterbird Restaurant Manning Point; MidCoast Document Services Taree – Outstanding Achievement; Valley Industries Taree – Outstanding Achievement.
PEOPLE’S CHOICE – Curves Taree; Neumanns Service Station Wingham.
Taree TAFE held a very successful inaugural deadly day festival on Thursday 30th November. One of three festivals held at North Coast TAFE campuses during that week, the day was designed to give young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders more education and employment opportunities, and to promote a healthy lifestyle. One of the highlights was a performance by Melbourne dance company, The Indigenous Hip Hop Project, who were so good, they even had Mayor Paul Hogan and Federal Member Rob Oakeshott doing some moves on the stage. Troy Cassar-Daley played a few tunes, while TAFE students from Taree and Tuncurry worked together to prepare and cook bush tucker under the guidance of TAFE teachers, Eleisha Jones and Ken Oldfield
The day was well attended and students took part in many activities, including traditional dance, health and culture activities and information booths.
Melissa Webber married Ben Welsh at Taree Anglican Church last month and held a lovely reception at the Winning Post Function Centre. Mel looked pretty in pink with a beautiful gown from local bridal shop, Isabella Bridal. Flowers were beautiful pale pink roses from Manning Florist and a wonderful cup cake wedding tower was made by C and S Cake Designs. Congratulations to Mel and Ben for a happy and healthy future.
A ‘Good Beginnings’ cocktail party was held at Bent on Food on Tuesday 25th November to update guests on what has been happening with this wonderful charity in our area. Good Beginnings is a charity that helps children get off to a good start in life through a range of innovative programs designed to strengthen their families and communities. Funds have been raised by the sale of ‘Cooking and Looking in the Manning Valley’, a wonderful book compiled and beautifully illustrated by Rosemary Sinclair. The function was attended by 32 people, who heard from Rosemary, and Good Beginnings co-ordinator Sue Russell, along with Family co-ordinator Grant Patterson and Early Childhood worker Dianne mead all about the wonderful services they are providing in the Manning Valley. Congratulations to all involved for the wonderful work they are doing for families in our region.
Audiences were thrilled with a performance by the wonderful Kantabile choir at the Manning Valley Regional Art Gallery on Friday 21st November. Pam Archer and Don Secombe did an amazing duet, and several pop classics were enjoyed by all who attended. Vivaldi’s Gloria was a highlight and the ambience of the gallery made it an excellent venue. Congratulations Cate and Kantabile for another great performance.
That’s me for this month. Wishing Focus readers a safe and happy festive season, sharing great food and wine with families and friends.