Today we’re going on an outing. No need to dress up fancy-shmancy, put on some comfy shoes, oh and today you can probably leave your hat and sunscreen at home because the weather’s a little touch and go.
Come with me and let me take you by the hand to a South West country festival on a beautiful Autumn day.
Ferguson Valley Taste Fest
We’ll drive along country roads through rolling hills that are beginning to be washed by the first flush of green from seasonal rains, and continue along Ferguson Falls Road until we reach a big sign saying: EVENT.
We’ve arrived at the Ferguson Valley Taste Fest, and here we’ll discover a fine selection of local wineries offering free wine tastings in a large marquee, and we’ll find local artwork for sale in the quaint Ferguson Valley Hall.
Here there are talented local artists displaying and selling their work, and the nearby Lyndendale Gallery (where I run blogging and creative writing workshops) also has a stall with unique arts and crafts for sale.
Don’t you love this Marri food service board we bought which smells so sweetly of edible orange oil (Hand crafted by Ripple Grove Wood Products from Marri wood found in the Crooked Brook forest), and below, this gorgeous glass bowl on which I’m going to serve olives at our next dinner party? Would you like to come?
I’ll meet up with Lu, who helps run the Ferguson Valley Visitors Centre and she’ll give me a book to promote, one that she and her colleagues have compiled from old newspaper articles about the 25th Light Horse Regiment’s camp in Dardanup. (Note: The area around Dardanup is a horse-lover’s paradise and there’s an equestrian centre too.)
Anyway, back to the book. It was the first and only time the Regiment camped in the area (Crooked Brook – a lovely place for walking) and it represents a significant event in the history of the light horse in Western Australia. So if you’re into military and local history contact Lu Standish at the Ferguson Valley Visitor Centre in Dardanup to buy a copy of this interesting collection of transcriptions and old photos.
It’s a little bit breezy today, after all it is one of the first cooler days of Autumn, but the atmosphere is vibrant with live music and lots of bonhomie in the wine tent. If you don’t like wine then go for the beer – look there’s the Wild Bull Brewery with beer tastings too.
Are you hungry? Yes? Come let’s choose from baguettes, croissants, pizzas, sandwiches, cakes, and local cheeses too if you like and we can sit at the long trestle tables both outside and inside the tent and maybe share a bottle of wine as well?
Come meet Anita, who owns and runs the nearby Carlaminda Bistro where we love to have lunch. “It’s so good to see you,” she’ll say as she kisses you on both cheeks (the French way) and propels you towards her lovely French style baguettes.
We’ll meet Julie from Bonking Frog Wines, a small boutique winery that’s making wonderful Merlot and I’ll comment on the really funny images that she posts on the Bonking Frog Facebook page.
Perhaps you’ll see people here that you know too? Many have come from Bunbury because there was a free bus from the Visitor Centre so that nobody need worry about drinking and driving.
Yes, it’s been a lovely afternoon sitting, sipping, buying, munching, chatting and listening to live music on this sunny Autumn day in the Ferguson Valley.
Don’t forget to come next year, will you?
Do you have a favourite country festival or fair – where in the world is it? Why not tell us in the comments section?