Elgin Grabouw Tourism welcomed visitors from far and wide to experience its first ever Elgin Winter Festival, a celebration of Winter, Wine & Words over the long weekend of 9-11 August 2019. An array of activities were offered at various venues throughout the Valley over the weekend, with an impressive schedule of events designed to entertain and warm the hearts of visitors young and old!
In honour of National Women’s Day, ladies were treated to free bubbly, discounts on certain activities and special dinners at designated establishments. Elgin Grabouw Tourism held a charity drive called #HandbagsOfHope which collected previously loved handbags filled with feminine toiletries from members of the public at a donation point in the Elgin Railway Market. Over 90 handbags were received and then distributed to Siphila Sonke, a local charity dedicated to improving the quality of life of desperately poor families living in the area’s informal settlement –
“We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the visitors to our Valley” reports Catherine Boome, executive head of Elgin Grabouw Tourism.
Elgin Wine Tasting Fair
The popular Art Deco inspired Elgin Railway Market was open for trade and hosted the Elgin Wine Tasting Fair, a first of its kind, on Friday evening. Wine lovers mingled with winemakers to sample wines from 13 of the Valley’s top estates. Other wine related events included personalised masterclasses and vertical tastings with the winemakers on their estates.
Appletiser and Valpre Water came on board as a festival partners, sponsoring fresh mineral water, sparkling fruit drinks and delectable Appletiser/Grapetiser cocktails crafted by professional mixologists.
Another fabulous first was the inaugural CrimeFest or KrimiFees, South Africa’s premier fully bilingual literary festival focused on crime writing! Seventeen of SA’s top writers attended, including Deon Meyer, undoubtedly King of South African Crime. Other authors included Karin Brynard, Andrew Brown, Bettina Wyngaard, Chanette Paul, Irna van Zyl, Martin Steyn, Rudie van Rensburg and Sally Andrew.
Consolidating its reputation as the “Centre of the Great Outdoors”, there were plenty of activities for fitness enthusiasts and nature lovers, including trail running, mountain biking , Segway tours, ziplining, horse outrides and even open air river barge cruises!
Bottomless Coffee Band
One of the highlights of the weekend was an intimate concert provided by the Elgin Railway Market on Saturday night, where multi-instrumentalist folk-rock duo Bottomless Coffee Band took to the stage and beguiled the crowd with their incredible music
For some, it was their first time exploring the Valley but many left promising it wouldn’t be the last. Even the weather put on an excellent show with crisp blue skies, sunshine and just enough of a chill to the air to remind us it was winter. Luckily, most venues in the area where suitably equipped with roaring fireplaces to keep visitors cosy and the cold at bay!
“It was wonderful to see how many visitors to the #ElginWinterFestival enjoyed taking a detour off the N2 to experience the magic and warmth of winter in Elgin. We are so fortunate to have some fantastic indoor venues that are perfect to host winter event such as these. This certainly will become a fixed feature in our calendar of events and we look forward to welcoming even more visitors in 2020!” Boome concludes.