James Tucker and Alex Greenwood try the hot stuff.
James Tucker and Alex Greenwood try the hot stuff.

Sawtell festival is hot, hot, hot

THIS year, for the first time in the history of the Sawtell Chilli Festival, people are being asked to make a gold-coin donation.

In the ‘drop a coin ... support Sawtell' campaign, the money collected will be divided between three Sawtell community organisations and the festival.

“Rising costs have forced us to take this move,” festival co-ordinator Ruth Anne Triebner said. “We decided to raise funds through a gold-coin donation, rather than a mandatory entry fee.”

Sawtell Boardriders, the Sawtell Rotarians and the Sawtell/Toormina Sports and Recreation Centre's building fund will be the beneficiaries of the money raised.

The Boardriders, a non-profit sporting club which holds monthly surfing competitions and hosts several local competitions, will use the funds for equipment and admin costs.

The Sawtell Rotarians will put funds it receives towards a 3D ultrasound machine for the anti-natal unit at the Coffs Coast Health Campus.

Sawtell Toormina Sport and Recreation will put its slice of the pie towards costs for a new, multi-purpose building.

Another first this year is the Latin Dance Party, being held in conjunction with Coffs Latin Rhythms.

“It will be a fantastic way to end the festival,” Ruth Anne said.

“Beginner Latin dance lessons kick off the evening. There will be two live bands – the nine-piece Rhythm Konnections from Byron Bay and the eight-piece Latin Brothers from the Gold Coast.

“The festival is shaping up to be a great day of food, music and fun. Whether you like it hot and spicy or milder, there will be a huge range of stalls, cafes and restaurants to cater to your tastes.”

Australia's leading chilli product manufacturers will join regional restaurateurs as the international diversity of chilli cuisine is put on show. The myriad of chilli products, some of which have even won international awards, is guaranteed to satisfy thousands of visitors and locals, from the spicy-food novice through to the fussiest chilli connoisseur.

“There is a misconception out there that this is just about chilli, when it's actually so much more than that,” Ruth Anne said.

“The idea behind the original festival was to create a day which helped ward off ‘chilly' winters, offering good food, music and entertainment. Today, it offers a huge variety of options ... and if you don't like chillies, there's plenty of non-chilli food to choose from.”

“There's free kids' rides and it's still very much a community event – even if you don't like chilli.

“Committee members, businesses and local people are looking forward to opening the doors of the Sawtell RSL-Princess Room and dancing the night away.”

The 2010 Sawtell Chilli Festival is being held on Saturday, July 3, from 10am to 4pm, on First Ave, Sawtell.

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