Spice is nice for local business

NEXT weekend's Regional Australia Bank Curryfest 2017, on Saturday, September 23, is one of the largest annual festivals on the Coffs Coast and provides a great boost for local business.

Woolgoolga locals are full swing in preparation mode for the town's signature event.

A Chamber of Commerce organising Committee and Event Management team work through the year to run the event, but many local volunteers come on board to help and local business sponsorship and participation is crucial to the event's success - a real community effort.

Curryfest 2016 was attended by a record number of people with estimates between 15,000 and 17,000.

Organisers expect to top that in 2017 following an extensive marketing campaign outside the Coffs Coast assisted by Destination NSW.

"Almost a third of the visitors last year were from outside the Coffs Council area and the average stay was 5.7 days, so the event is generating significant tourism with all of the related spin-offs for local accommodation operators, cafes and gift shops in Woolgoolga and the wider Coffs area,” said Event Manager Carl Mower.

"Many local shops and vendors benefit on festival day itself, but others benefit more in the days before and after the festival when visitors are in town looking for places to stay, shop and eat.

"There's also been a big increase in interstate visitors to the event.”

Now in its 12th year, Curryfest has a further positive economic spin-off for the town beyond the significant boost to tourism.

In 2016, the majority of goods and services used by event managers were sourced locally with $37,000 spent locally in Woolgoolga and a further $34,000 spent on Coffs Coast goods and services.

"Everything from graphic design and traffic management to equipment hire, advertising and entertainment,” Mr Mower said.

Many festivals throughout NSW have closed down due to escalating regulatory requirements and costs but Curryfest has managed to contribute to fundraising or donate around $10,000 to local schools and community groups over the past two years as well as putting some aside for a future contribution to a major local project.

"We donate a share of the profits to the community groups that volunteer to help us on the day with the only requirement being that they use the money for local projects,” organising Committee Chair Pamela Fayle said.

"Also quite a few community organisations take advantage of a discounted stall site fee and do their own promotion and fundraising at the event.

"So we hope lots of people come out and support the event on September 23.”

Despite cost increases in recent years, organisers have been able to retain the family-friendly entrance charge of $5 for adults and children free, while many similar events are charging double digit figures.

For more information on Curryfest 2017 go to www.curryfest.com.au.

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