Gayle Beveridge is a past winner of the Boroondara Literary Awards and her work has appeared in Award Winning Australian Writing. Gayle is passionate about family, writing, photography, and with Victoria’s beautiful Bass Coast which she now calls home.
How Do They Cram All This into One Weekend
The Meeniyan Garlic Festival is back! Garlic may be the hero of the day but this is actually a fun packed family event and you shouldn't estimate what a big deal it is. So much so that you will be challenged to get through all the activities on the day. So what's it all about? It's tasting, drinking, dining, playing, kid's games, competitions, a show case of local produce and live music. If you are a true garlic enthusiast there's a trip along the Garlic and Greens Precinct, talks by Garlic Institute gurus, Festival Kitchen and would you believe, garlic beer and garlic ice-cream. This is a stellar day out but why wouldn't you stay the whole weekend? But, without further ado, here are 24 things to do at the Meeniyan 2023 Garlic Festival, Victoria's only garlic festival.
1. Head down to the Garlic and Greens Precinct where eight featured garlic growers and a number of other garlic and greens stalls will showcase Gippsland produce. Check out the huge variety of garlic, and try and buy. There is reputedly tonnes of great Australian garlic at the festival. Speak to growers from Balmuttum Garlic, Garlic Essentials, Gerdavale Garlic, Grand Ridge Organics, Green Hills Farm, Koonwarra Farm, Mirboo Farm and Tooley Garlic.
Image from the Meeniyan Garlic Festival Facebook page
2. Garlic Grazing. Deserving of special mention and renowned favourites at the festival are garlic beer and garlic ice-cream. That's right, beer and ice-cream, so if all you've been doing with garlic is flavouring the stew you've been short-changing yourself.
3. Talks and Workshops about growing garlic, varieties and the health benefits of garlic will be hosted by The Garlic Institute. Penny Woodward, organic gardener, author and broadcaster will be speaking about growing garlic in the home garden and about heirloom tomatoes. Kristen and Neil Plumridge of Green Hills Farm will share what they have learned about their produce and sustainable country living. John Oliff, the founder of Freshwater Creek Garlic, and now the Chair of the Australian garlic Industry Association has a wealth of practical knowledge to share. Joel White the Co-Founder of Arawata Heirloom, will share his progress on his endeavour to develop a consistently productive farming country using regenerative methods and practice. Click on the speakers names for their bio.
5. Have a light breakfast or skip it altogether. You'll need to leave room for the Al Fresco Dining Precinct at the festival. In addition to garlic, the hero food of the day, there will also be local produce, regional wines, ciders, craft beers and local cheeses. Sit and relax at one of the long tables as you taste and sip and listen to live music or sit beneath the shade of umbrellas.
Wineries Dirty Three Wines, Walkerville Winery and Tilson Hill will be there to tempt you with their wares.
The Burra Brewing Company are long-standing participants at the festival. Come along and taste what this microbrewer from Korumburra has to offer. Also present will be Bullant Brewery, Grand Ridge Brewery and Twisted Sister Cider.
Love a good cheese? Don't miss Berry's Creek Gourmet Cheese and Prom Country Cheese.
With over twenty food stalls including the infamous CWA scones, jam and cream and at least With sweet treats and drink stalls you'll have to pace yourselves. Don't forget the produce to take home. There are more than twenty stalls offering everything from salami to honey to chillies and even native foods.
6. Visit the Diary Precinct. Local dairy farmers will be on hand for a chat and while Mum and Dad glean information from these hands-on experts the kids can cuddle a calf or learn how to milk a cow or enter the milking competition.
7. Captain Koala and the Meeniyan-Stony Creek Fire Brigade will be on hand and the kids can get a close-up look at the fire truck. 8. The Stiltsters. Marvel at the stilt walkers. How on earth do they stay upright; they must have amazing balance. 9. Veggie sculptures. Visitors are invited to create sculptures from vegetables. 10. Billy cart time trials. Kids can test their skills in one of the billy carts on the festival track and vie for the time trial prizes. 11. The Great Garlic Quest. Pick up the clues and search the festival for the 10 cartoon garlic characters. Punch stamp the card and when it is completed return it to the Kids Info Tent for an entry into the prize draw.
Vegetable Sculptures - Image from the Meeniyan Garlic Festival Facebook page
12. Races enjoyed at community events for more than a century complement the festival. Enter the egg and spoon race, the sack race, or the three-legged race. 13. Story time. The young children will love story time. 14. The Family Show. Corie Blackley is back with his family show. Corie's shows are a mix of games, prizes, music, magic, balloon animals and glitter tattoos. 15. Mini Golf. Challenge yourselves to have a family competition on the mini golf course. 16. Giant Zorb Chamber. Hop inside the giant inflatable zorb chamber and make it roll.
Sack Race - Image from Meeniyan Garlic Festival facebook Page
17. Hula Hooping. Swing those coloured hoops around your waist. How long can you keep them up? 18. Soccer Darts. Kick that soccer ball at a giant inflatable dart board. What will you score? 19. Temporary tattoos are as popular as face painting amongst the kids. 20. Rock climbing. Try your skill on the rock climbing wall. Giant Zorb Chamber. 21. Sheaf tossing. Grab a pitchfork and use it to throw a bag stuffed with straw over a bar above your head. 22. Vintage cars and tractors complete any regional festival. They are presented with pride and many owners will be on hand for a chat.
Vintage Cars and Tractors - Image from Meeniyan Garlic Festival Facebook Page
The Garlic Festival runs from 9am to 4pm, Saturday 18th February, 2023 at the Meeniyan Recreation Reserve, Hanily Street Meeniyan, Victoria, 3956. There is a $15 entry fee for adults which gets you an entry wristband, a festival guide with a map, directions and the festival program. Children under 16 are admitted for free. Be sun wise and don't forget to bring a hat, sunscreen and a water bottle. Refills for your water bottle will be provided free at the festival. Don't be late, I hear the garlic ice-cream sells out fairly quickly.
Meeniyan is just over an hour's drive from the South Eastern suburbs and around 2 hours drive from the Melbourne CBD along the South Gippsland Highway. You can't go wrong on a weekend getaway to this charming town situated in Victoria's beautiful Prom Country. To learn more about what Meeniyan has to offer and check accommodation options go to 'Top 15 Reasons to Visit Meeniyan.'