As Knysna once again prepares itself for the huge influx of holiday makers lured by the annual Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival, one may be forgiven for believing that this extravaganza pays homage solely to the celebrated bivalve. The king of Knysna’s festival calendar, the Knysna Oyster Festival goes way beyond this – it is a feast of more than a 100 activities and events spanning a broad spectrum from sport, food and wine, markets, music, games, whisky, art, Harleys to kids events, and much more. Knysna is indeed the place to be between 1-10 July for “the Best 10 days of your Winter”.
From its inception in 1983 as the Knysna Winter Festival, the Knysna Oyster Festival has developed into a major national event and now attracts over 50 000 visitors to the town each year – sporting enthusiasts, food and wine lovers, families, fun seekers and holiday makers. The two major sporting events underpinning the festival are the Pick n Pay Cape Times Knysna Forest Marathon and the Pick n Pay Weekend Argus Rotary Knysna Cycle Tour. The Cycle Tour includes various mountain bike races through the unspoilt forests and picturesque farmlands surrounding Knysna whilst the Road Race is a test of endurance and speed in the direction of Plettenberg Bay. Full and Half Marathons also take in the best of Knysna’s forests and rural areas.
Naturally the alluring oyster is indeed a major drawcard at the Festival. With its rich history of oyster cultivation it is no surprise that many visitors associate the town with this delicacy. Some 200 000 oysters will be shucked and consumed this year, dressed or undressed! Pairings of wine and oysters culminate in the Pick n Pay Oyster and Wine Mardi Gras where festival-goers have the opportunity to sample some of the local chefs’ creations in an oyster recipe contest. Why not try your hand in the oyster shucking or Tabasco oyster eating competitions? Various Oyster Hotspots will be selling delicious oysters prepared in a variety of ways.
Should the above not tickle your fancy, despair not! Some of the exciting events occurring in the packed festival program include:
- Other sporting highlights such as the gruelling Big 5 Challenge, the Salomon Featherbed Trail Run, the FHM Knysna Lagoon Challenge, the Hornlee 5km Fun Run/Walk, the Knysna Soccer Tournament, the Due South Xterra, the Classic Golf Day, the Hansa Waterfront Rush, the Parmalat Rugby Festival, Pomp Trolley Marathon, Bridge over the Knysna Lagoon and a host more.
- Food and wine events also include a Bubbles and Blues Evening on the Paddle Cruiser, a Murder Mystery Dinner, the Whisky and Jazz Festival, TSIBA Wine Tasting, a Gala Dinner and manymore.
- The South African Navy will once again arrive through the Knysna Heads in their huge minesweepers. The Navy’s internationally acclaimed band will entertain festival-goers both at the Waterfront and during the street parade.
- A full program of activities for kids includes candle making, a fun fair, a pavement art competition, fun cooking classes, a sand art competition, a cycle tour, a laser quest, puppet shows, youth theatre and tons more.
- Other events include dog shows, biocarts, a waitron race, radio controlled airplanes, chess tournaments, art exhibitions, a local design and food market, SAPS band, Gospel Show, a ji jitsu workshop, fun music workshop, a school sports festival, a ladies night, boccia tournament, a ladies night and plenty of other exciting happenings.
The Knysna Oyster Festival is a fantastic annual event that is not to be missed. Knysna accommodation during the festival is as scarce as hen’s teeth. Bamboo guests that already have bookings need lose no sleep.......for those who have made last minute decisions to attend the festival, give us a call and we’ll do our best to find you accommodation somewhere in the area.
Here is some more information on Knysna's Festivals.