Sometimes it takes an ‘outsider’ to notice an opportunity on our doorstep, and so it was when former Sydney-siders Tim McMullen and Naomi Miller created a series of Cork and Fork Festival events in Wagga, before expanding them to Noreuil Park Albury last year.
Gathering for local food, wine and music by the banks of the Murray River on selected Friday nights over summer sounded like an obvious way for locals and visitors to further utilise the relaxing public space.
For Tim and Naomi, who are now involved in their Riverina wine business, Borambola Wines, the Cork & Fork Fest is about promoting all the great things our region offers.
“One of the main reasons for the festival was to draw people down to the beautiful river precincts that both Albury and Wagga have, that we saw as being under-utilized,” Tim said.
“We also wanted to promote local food and produce, local wines, beer and cider and provide a platform for local musicians and performers to promote and play.”
It’s not surprising that the free community events are proving popular.
“I think it’s the relaxed, casual nature of the event that appeals to people,” Tim said.
“People can come and go as they please and wind down after a busy week. We find families arrive early and leave early, and another crowd arrives a little later and stay to the end before they head out somewhere else.
“We’re always looking at ways to keep this event fresh and relevant.”
Tim and Naomi are also keen to broaden the festival’s appeal.
“We are always looking for new acts and happy to combine with other groups to increase the popularity of this event,” Tim said.
“We also work with the local Rotary to help them raise funds for their community projects.”
“Long term we may take it to other surrounding regional towns and support the local food outlets, musicians and entertainment,” Naomi said.
Cork and Fork Fest Albury dates: Friday 8 December, Friday 2 February, Friday 2 March, 5:30pm – 9:30pm, Noreuil Park.
For more information: https://www.facebook.com/corkandforkfest/