Guaranteeing the best 10 days of winter in South Africa, the 28th Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival takes place from 1 -10 July 2011 in the Garden Route town of Knysna.
Attracting more than 65 000 sporting enthusiasts, families, food and wine lovers, and adrenalin junkies the festival offers something for everyone from running, cycling, golfing, bowling and adventure racing to wine and whiskey tastings, cooking competitions, food and wine pairings, gala evenings, live music, a specialized children’s programme and of course not to forgot the oysters!
The hub of this year’s festival is back at Loerie Park in George Rex Drive and is set to be the biggest yet with over 100 sporting and lifestyle events for both young and old, jam-packed into the 10 days of the festival.
A highlight of the festival is The Big 5 Challenge in which competitors are put to the ultimate test participating in five gruelling events throughout the festival. These include the Pick n Pay Weekend Argus Rotary Knysna Cycle Tour Mountain Bike and Road Race events.
In the Mountain Bike event on 2 July, cyclists battle it out for 85km through the pristine forests and surrounding farmlands of the greater Knysna area and the Road Race takes cyclists out towards Plettenberg Bay in a test of speed and endurance.
In the Salomon Featherbed Trail Run presented by PETZL on July 5 participants traverse the western head of Featherbed Nature Reserve through ancient Milkwood forests and along coastal fynbos tracks.
The third event in the Big 5 Challenge is the Duesouth XTERRA presented by REHIDRAT which takes place on the majestic grounds of Pezula Private Estate on July 7, followed by the Pick n Pay Cape Times Half Marathon on July 9 which attracts over 8000 runners from around the country.
The last of the Big 5 Challenge events is the FHM Knysna Lagoon Challenge on July 10 in which paddlers paddle three laps on the Knysna Lagoon towards the Knysna Heads and back with a loop through Thesen Islands, the Waterfront and Knysna Quays. All the above events can also be entered into individually.
Happy kids = happy parents
And while moms and dads are playing in nature’s playground, youngsters have a smorgasbord of activities to keep them fully entertained.
Throughout the entire 10 days of the festival children of all ages can take part in cycling races, dance, music and drama workshops for the energetic. For the more creatively inclined there are craft and art classes, sand art workshops and fun cooking classes to keep them happy. Activities also include puppetry making workshops, puppet shows, drama workshops and dress up and face- painting classes.
And of course not too forget the very reason for the festival – the oysters! With over 200 000 oysters shucked, dressed and swallowed during the festival – it is 10 days of pure oyster indulgence. The Pick n Pay Oyster and Wine Mardi Gras which takes place on July 6 brings together top restaurants in the greater Knysna area calling on them to create the ultimate oyster recipe which guests then get to sample at the culinary event of the festival.
Other culinary and wine events include The Wade Bales Wine festival held at Pezula Private Estate, Whisky and Jazz on the Paddle Cruiser and the Tabasco Oyster Eating competition.
With over 100 events to choose from there is something for everyone at this year’s festival including township tours, the Pick n Pay Oyster Festival Soccer Tournament, the Oyster Festival Dog Show, a Lazer Quest for the kids, an Athletics Fun Run, the Scottish Leader Bowls Tournament, the Protea Knysna Quays Waitron Race, Golf Digest Bell’s Knysna Classic Day and the Disabled Fun Event to name a few.
So choose your activity, get training, pack up the family and book to be part of SA’s winter holiday destination of choice to make sure you don’t miss out.
For more information visit www.oysterfestival.co.za or call Knysna Tourism on 044 382 5510.