Every year for the last eleven years, thousands of people have converged on the beautiful seaside village of Woolgoolga. They are drawn from near and far to honour the unique cultural heritage, music and cuisine of the area in a celebration known as “Curryfest”.
Curryfest celebrates Woolgoolga’s unique Punjabi heritage. It began as a community celebration but has grown into a newsworthy tourist attraction. International and interstate visitors join with people from all over NSW and lots of locals to dance in the street and enjoy an event which has grown to encompass lead up events as well as a huge festival day.
The Curryfest Festival results in the picturesque wide main streets of the town closing to traffic and being lined with over 150 food and market stalls. The whole town gets behind the event with local retailers hosting special sales, participating in “Tastes of Woolgoolga” restaurant nights, offering special accommodation discounts and hosting stalls. Curry is central but other international cuisines are also featured.
The event has traditionally occurred in April but in 2015 moved to September and embraced a celebration of the area’s blueberry industry.
A large main stage presents a wide variety of cultural entertainment and a second stage provides local community groups with an opportunity to perform and enables visiting artists to conduct workshops. The beach reserve, which overlooks the sparkling Pacific Ocean, is ringed with food and market stalls and tables and chairs are placed throughout the space to allow families to chill out and eat the wondrous curries and other special foods on offer. A cooking demonstration tent provides additional entertainment with a program of chefs showing off their skills.
There is a dedicated Kids Zone, where rides, activities and entertainment keep the young and young at heart occupied all day. The community spirit is strong in this little town, local yoga teachers and Indian healers’ share knowledge and expertise free of charge all day in the Yoga & Meditation zone where those seeking their “dhyana” (zen) can visit for as long as they want.
In 2017, lead up and post events will again include the popular “Flavours of Woolgoolga” restaurant nights featuring exotic curries and the famous Lillipilli Art Exhibition will be on at Woolgoolga Art Gallery throughout September (open 10-4 daily). Other events will be announced as planning progresses and we would love to hear your ideas.
The future for Curryfest is a bright one. Industry experts Australia wide have publicly heralded the uniqueness and authentic ties to the local community as pillars which will ensure the success of Curryfest for many years to come. All three tiers of government came on board for 2017 to enable us to add special art and culture events for the 12th anniversary and enhance the marketing budget to reach beyond the local area.
As a Not for Profit organisation, Curryfest, with the support of seven major volunteer organizations to assist run the event as well as individual volunteers were able to use gate receipts to provide $4,000 to these groups for local community projects…..a true community festival.
Entry to Curryfest 2017, is only still $5 adults and children are free