Staring at the sea while eating the ocean’s finest bounty is one of life’s simple pleasures, and the coastal haven of Apollo Bay has an entire fest dedicated to it.
That’s right; the Apollo Bay Seafood Festival is back for summer this weekend (from Friday 15 to Sunday 17 February) at the Apollo Bay Harbour for a celebration of the finest seafood the town has to offer. Centred around three core events – Down the Hatch, Harbour Day and Conversations in the littoral – the festival aims to bring together, engage and profile those who share its vision – from local fishers to marine scientists, chefs through to food writers, local townsfolk to seafood lovers throughout Australia.
DOWN THE HATCH
Festivities will kick off with the 2019 ‘ocean to plate’ gala feast Down The Hatch, at the Mechanics Hall on Friday, February 15 at 7 pm. Handcrafted by executive chef Nick Mahlook and his team of artisans from The Atlantic, the eight-course shared dinner will showcase locally caught fresh seafood and produce, and a selection of wines. For the perfect finale Om Nom’s executive chef Jo Ward will reveal a magically sweet ocean themed dessert.
The Apollo Bay Harbour will transform into an ‘Off the Boat’ Seafood Market on Saturday, February 16, from 8 am where festival punters will be able to buy fresh seafood straight off the fishermen who caught the catch. With the spirit of the local fishing community at the heart, being able to buy direct is as fresh as you can physically get and a great way to share the world-class seafood that these fisherman source locally.
As the fresh fish sell out, harbour will then launch into a packed day of music and pop up restaurants, boasting delicious lobster rolls, seafood dumplings, huge paella pans, southern rock lobster, abalone sashimi and much more. Think award-winning Oysters from Wapengo Rocks, Yarra Valley Caviar and freshly cooked local Rock Lobsters from The Apollo Bay Fisherman’s Co-Op, as well as Smoked Mussels in whisky cream sauce by Sticks & Bones BBQ, Seafood Paella by La Bimba, Mushiki Dumplings, local gummy shark burgers from Hello Coffee and epic Garlic Prawn Spring Rolls by Giant Springs. Festival goers will also be able to quench their thirst with local craft beer Pricky Moses, wine partners Mt Duneed and cocktails from ORA bar to name a few.
There’ll be plenty to do with free behind the scenes Fishing Co-op tours, rope splicing and cray pot making demonstrations. Festival goers will be able to step back in time as the Apollo Bay and District Historical Society share the history of the harbour coupled with Apollo Bay’s oldest boat on display in the slip yard, and for added fun vintage family photo shoots also on site.
For great vibes music will kick off at midday across two stages lasting until 9pm with Forever Sun headlining followed by Nick Barker Duo, Victoriana Gaye, Gena Rose Bruce, Dean Kruger, Bad Bangs, The Fillmore Brothers, The Vacant Smiles, Mike Elrington and The Refuge.
CONVERSATIONS IN THE LITTORAL
Hosted by Richard Cornish and Hillary McNevin join a Conversation in the Littoral on Sunday February 17 for a passionate discussion surrounding the future of sustainability, science and the realities of primary producer life at the Apollo Bay Surf Lifesaving Club from 10am – 5pm.
Tickets $50, include lunch provided by Apollo Bay Catering and Events.
Discussions will include The Ocean and the Future whereby local fishermen Russel Frost, Markus Nolle, Nick Polgeest, executive director of Seafood Industry Victoria Jonathon Daveyand the director of Centre for Marine Socioecology UTAS Stewart Frusher will look towards a blue economy.
Exploring The Past and Present of our Food will be environmental science and anthropology expert Zoe Brittain, chef and owner of Brae, Dan Hunter and Wongarra Farms farmer, Roderick Poole. Followed by Bruce Pascoe and special guests with Between the Land and the Sea.
Following these, at 5pm, A Victorian Story of Greed, Luxury, Catastrophe … and Hope will have connoisseurs enjoying fine champagne and freshly shucked oysters as The Hungry Gentlemen, Richard Cornish and Max Allen, recount the tragic tale of how ancient native oyster reefs around Victoria’s shoreline were plundered in the 19th century to feed hordes of cashed-up gold miners and squatters flooding into the colony.
For art lovers alike, Apollo Bay Arts Inc Gallery will host pop-up exhibition Bayside Lowbrow, featuring the Pop, Lowbrow and Contemporary art of Jeff Raglus, Marshall White and Finglesin.
For the full program and to purchase tickets head to www.apollobayseafoodfestival.com