The festival created to showcase one of the Port’s premier natural resources, seafood, is now award-winning after claiming top honours in the Sydney Fish Market Seafood Excellence Awards.
In a timely win for Love Sea Food Tastes Port Stephens, as it kicked off on August 1, the festival was last month announced as the winner of the national award for excellence in seafood marketing.
Love Sea Food was nominated for the award by The Commercial Fisherman’s Co-Op.
“So many local families, producers and businesses pull together to make Love Sea Food the success that it is and give visitors an authentic taste of what Port Stephens does best,” Rob Gauta, general manager of The Commercial Fisherman’s Co-Op, said.
“We’re proud of what the local industry and community has achieved and it’s so rewarding to see excitement building Australia-wide and beyond, about what makes Port Stephens so special.”
The annual awards recognise and rewards the seafood industry’s top achievers across 14 categories.
The Promotion Award that Love Sea Food received was shown at the launch of the 2019 festival at The Anchorage on Monday.
Indicative of the widespread attention the Love Sea Food festival attracts to the region, many of the seafood experiences featured in this year’s jam-packed festival program have already sold out.
For the first time in 2019, the event has joined forces with the Tastes of the Bay festival to move forward as Love Sea Food Tastes Port Stephens and deliver one of the biggest events on the local government area’s winter calendar.
Some of the 49 local oyster growing families harvest an additional 400 dozen oysters just to satisfy the appetites of festival-goers during the final weekend of the festival, when people can try and buy direct from producers’ stalls that wind through Nelson Bay town centre and along d’Albora Marina.
In 2018 stalls sold out by early afternoon, so growers are working overtime to meet the growing demand generated by the festival experience.
Eateries across Port Stephens are offering special festival menus and Signature Series dining experiences throughout the month of August.
“We don’t have to tell locals how good we have it here with an absolute abundance of premium fresh seafood available year-round and a thriving restaurant, café and visitor economy that has taken shape around it,” Eileen Gilliland, CEO of Destination Port Stephens, said.
“But we can all feel immensely proud to have all worked together to give not only our surrounding regions and Sydney-siders, but across Australia, an awareness of what we do best and a desire to experience it for themselves.”