Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival 2013 a huge success

Wednesday, 14 August, 2013
Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival
The last lemon was squeezed, the Tabasco® bottles were closed and athletes all packed their sporting gear away as the final shells of the 2013 Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival were swept away.
South Africa’s largest sporting and lifestyle event took place from 28 June to 7 July and the town of Knysna is likely to be riding on an oyster high for months to come. “Sunshine and moderate weather ensured that this year’s festival attracted approximately 60 000 visitors to Knysna,” said Festival Manager Nicci Rousseau-Schmidt. “This is based on the number of entries to our big sporting events, tickets sold to lifestyle events, and assuming that our athletes travelled with their partners and children. We cannot count day visitors, so this figure excludes those families who attended the festival for a day’s outing.
“And with these many feet, hungry mouths and itchy spending fingers, early indications are that the festival enjoyed an extremely successful 30th birthday, with an estimated R66 484 000 spent within Knysna during the 10 days of the festival.”
Malcolm Mycroft General Manager Marketing Pick n Pay said, “The Knysna Oyster Festival was a great opportunity for Pick n Pay to meet its customers and to help raise money for the community. The event gives a boost to the economy of the town and helps build our brand.”
Rousseau-Schmidt said that the number of attendees was a conservative estimation. “It is based solely on the number of entrants to the Pick n Pay Weekend Argus Rotary Knysna Cycle Tour, the Salomon Featherbed Trail Run presented by GU, the TOTALSPORTS XTERRA PEZULA presented by REHIDRAT® SPORT and the Pick n Pay Cape Times Knysna Forest Marathon and Half Marathon – only four of our big events, which attracted a total of 16 621 participants.”
Feedback from local restaurants and retailers already reflect this positive impact, as many of them report exceptional turnovers for both the weekend- and midweek periods of the festival. “Some restaurants even report turnovers equal to that of the busy December period, and early indications also show that oyster sales were higher than in previous years,” she said. “And the really exciting thing is that after expenses, the 40 local crafters from the Eden district who displayed their handmade goods at the Knysna Tourism Living Local Collective Shop at the main venue on Waterfront Drive, earned a collective R43 000 during the festival – nearly doubling last year’s takings.”
“A good indicator of a busy midweek is not only the entries to the Monday to Friday sporting events,” Nicci added. “Our midweek lifestyle events were extremely well attended, with more than 600 guests attending the Knysna Wine Festival and the adjacent night market over the Monday and Tuesday nights. Wednesday night’s popular Pick n Pay Flavours of Knysna was completely sold out, as was our brand new Thursday night event, The Tabasco® Oyster Shuckle – On Fire with Nik Rabinowitz.”
“We’re also busy finalising the charity handovers with the various event organisers,” Rousseau-Schmidt said. “We are very excited to see if we can top last year’s whopping amount of just under R1,5 million handed to local non-profit organisations.
“All in all it was a fantastic ten days. And we are very happy that the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival has once again been successful in its main objective: to stimulate the local economy during the quiet winter period.”
Aside from this welcome boost to the local economy, the festival also influences the future of tourism to the town of Knysna – and it looks good. “Tourism really is the driving force behind Knysna’s economy,” Rousseau-Schmidt said. “And the type of comments we received on social media clearly show a lot of interest from festival goers who plan on returning to Knysna for future visits, as well as those who could not make it to the festival this year, but who are planning to visit Knysna during other times of the year.”
“Knysna is enjoying phenomenal national and international exposure,” Rousseau-Schmidt said.. “This is exposure that not only promoted the festival, but also Knysna as the travel destination of choice and, between 15 March and 18 July 2013, reports show exposure to the value of more than R103 million – and we’re still counting.”
“But none of this would have been possible without the unwavering support of various stakeholders and I would like to thank Pick n Pay and all our other sponsors for their invaluable involvement. A huge thank you also goes to the Knysna Municipality and the Town Council. Municipal officials and workers are always on hand and willing to go that extra mile to assist us in hosting the festival, while still delivering fantastic services to our residents and all our guests,” Nicci concluded.