THE village of Bathurst near Port Alfred is having its second annual Country Affair this weekend and the event, which kicked off yesterday, again has a strong food flavour.
Organiser Tanya Schenk said chefs would again prepare three-course meals for the public in different settings.
"The participating chefs are Carla Bright from Kingston Farm, Dayallan Naidoo from MyPond Hotel, Algoa FM's Charl Leslie, Debbie Marais from the Bathurst Arms and Alex Lazaris from the Pig & Whistle. Angelique Kossolapov, a Stenden student who won last year's three-year Bathurst Country Affair bursary, will also be cooking," she said.
"The exciting factor for visitors this year is that they get to score each meal as if they are MasterChef judges.
"In addition to the chefs' meals we are offering an array of other experiences and have a busy programme in place for the weekend."
Today's foodie highlights include three-course chefs' meals at Kingston Farm and Bradshaw Mill at 12.30pm, while at 6.30pm three-course chefs' dinners will be hosted at the Workshop Gallery, the 'thursty Monkey, the Pig & Whistle, the Bathurst Arms and again at Kingston Farm. Tomorrow's three-course lunches are at Bradshaw Mill and Kingston Farm.
Bookings for all meals are online. There is a Kranskop wine tasting at the Workshop Gallery at 4.30pm today and a Knorhoek tasting at the Corner Gallery at 2.30pm tomorrow.
The Bathurst Green exhibition area will have a wine and liquor display and stalls to browse through from 10am to 5pm today and from 10am to 3pm tomorrow.
Other highlights today include "Kaskar" Derby heats and a mountain bike challenge, both from 9am; the not-to-be-missed Hooves and Wheels Parade through the village centre at 11.30am and the annual waitron race at 2.30pm.
Tomorrow's highlights include a "wacky walk" for which participants of all ages will dress up – dogs welcome too – at 10am; the Kaskar Derby finals at Toposcope Road at 11am; and a pineapple throwing competition at 11.30am.
"Two town criers dressed in traditional garb will be in the village hub all weekend ringing their very loud bells as they announce activities," Tanya said.
"A buskers' stage will be set up at the Bathurst Green on both days for musos who feel inspired to take to the stage, so bring along your instrument and simply plug in.
" Quite a few venues will also have live music."
Traditional singers and dancers will perform all weekend and Winston, the one-ton Percheron, will take guests for horse and carriage rides.
"Pepito and Pedro, our two Alpacas, will also be around," Tanya said.
Visitors may be sure the village is looking its best as local businesses have been encouraged to enter a "Pavement Pretty" competition by decorating their shop fronts and pavements for the Country Affair.
The popular farmers' market will run for the duration of the event at the village green and both the Big Pineapple and Bathurst Agricultural Museum will be open to the public all weekend.
"The Bathurst Country Affair is a non-profit event and all profits will go to the Nolukhanyo HIV/ Aids Community Support Group and the Sunshine Coast Feeding Scheme," Tanya said.
For the full programme and bookings visit www.bathurstcountryaffair.co.za For more information contact Tanya on 071-487-6686 or Catherine on 082-444-3948.