Midst all the hubbub in Hobart with the Christmas holidays, the arrival of the Sydney-Hobart race boats and the upcoming New Year's celebration, Tasmania's Taste Festival, a summer waterfront celebration, is in full swing from 28 December through 3 January. How much excitement can one little city, its inhabitants, a half million visitors and the Nine of Cups crew handle in one week? Evidently a lot … we're overwhelmed.
The long daylight hours of summer make this celebration Tasmania's largest. In its 24th year, the Taste Fest highlights all things Tasmania … wine, produce, food, crafts, entertainment. All along the waterfront, Princes Wharf and into Salamanca Place, booths and marquees were set up, beckoning visitors to stop by and “taste Tasmania”. It was crowded and crazy.
Parliament Park had been turned into “The Kid's Park” and kids really seemed to be enjoying themselves. A few kiddie rides like Teacups and Swings were set up as well an inflatable bounce castle, but mostly it was things to do. Thousands of Legos spread out on a huge tarp engaged some kids. Others “fished” in little wading pools while some toddlers worked hard to get a hula hoop going. Bright colors and music pervaded the scene. It was brilliant.
The throngs of people were absolutely amazing. Hundreds of food stalls offered everything from Parisian food to all things chicken to seafood to every ethnic option imaginable. The mix of aromas was nearly overpowering. Cadbury Chocolate offered a live cooking show in one area and chocolate samples in another. Wine, beer and spirit tastings had waiting lines .
The day was breezy, but beautiful. Picnic tables and chairs were set up and fully occupied. Brightly covered bean bag chairs had been placed strategically on the lawns and astro-turf covered medians. People lounged and relaxed, ate and drank, chatted and played.
Strains of music varied from bagpipers, to blues bands to rock to jazz to mellow guitar and filled the air, lending a carnival spirit to an already high energy day. Stages and bleachers were set up throughout the venue and come evening, the place would be hopping with party goers and live entertainment.
We observed. We listened. We sniffed. We felt the energy and the closeness of the mob. We felt the sun on our backs and we tasted the day away.