Roaring success: Fine crowd at festival

THE Swan Hill Food and Wine Festival recorded its biggest ever number of attendees at the weekend, with 2300 people filling the iconic Pioneer Settlement on Saturday. 

Booming numbers also delivered a significant economic boost to the town, with motels and caravan parks booked out and restaurants doing a roaring trade. 

Event co-ordinator Julie Wiggins said this year's festival had delivered on its promise to be "bigger and better than ever", with an increase on numbers in all three events. 

Ms Wiggins said people poured through the gates from the time gates opened at 11am, with numbers continuing to grow throughout the day. 

"It was a really amazing day, the weather was fantastic, the stall holders really enjoyed it," she said. 

Ms Wiggins said feedback provided from attendees and stall holders said everyone "thoroughly enjoyed" the day. 

"The stallholders were all very happy, we had 26 stallholders there on the day and virtually all the food stalls sold out," she said. 

Food and refreshment providers have reported this year's festival as "the best in recent years", while the entertainment was also a hit. 

"Diesel went down really well, the crowds really enjoyed it, as well as acts by Aaron Schembri and Code 5," she said. 

While the festival is the big ticket event, Ms Wiggins said the PS Pyap Cruise and Produce and Design Market also saw a spike in numbers. 

"The market went really, really well, I don't have the exact numbers but judging from the cost they had over 1000 people," she said. 

"The Friday night cruise was fantastic, we had awesome weather, it sold out with 122 people on the boat."

Ms Wiggins said with overnight visitors spending an estimated $171 per night, the event was estimated to have generated between $150,000 and $200,000 to the local economy. 

"Even from what I could see just driving around, a lot of local accommodation places had no vacancy signs up, I know Lake Boga was chokers, as was Swan Hill Riverside," she said. 

Ms Wiggins said a number of visitors were even seen pitching tents in friend's yards.

Overall, Ms Wiggins said the weekend could be considered a complete success, and thanked the local community for their continued support. 

"I would like to thank our sponsors, without who this kind of event would not be possible, and thank you to the locals for supporting us," she said.