Poor weather and an unsuitable location were partly to blame for a much-hyped 'foodies market' event which left some attendees wanting. But an organiser says despite some challenges, hopes they can bring the event back to Mudgee again.
The Foodies Night Markets is a travelling event that brings a collection of local and city-based food vendors to one location for the day while raising money for Rural Aid through a small entry fee.
After successful runs at Dubbo and Forbes, when it came to Mudgee's turn, the AREC location was discovered to be less than suitable for the conditions.
Social media posts by some attendees said there weren't as many vendors as expected and with temperatures peaking in the mid-30s, it was tough going in the sunlight with little or no shade available.
Organiser of the Foodies Night Markets Anna Demasi, said that she considered the day a success but agrees it could have been better.
"Look, Dubbo was amazing. Forbes, once again was absolutely - I think that was even busier even though Dubbo has four times the population," Ms Demasi said.
"Unfortunately with Mudgee...so when we looked at the forecast [it said] 31 and overcast. Once it's overcast, even though it's 31 it's a great day still. So when I looked at the weather on Saturday and it still said 31 and overcast I thought 'great',"
"Then on Sunday when we turned up and it was 35, full sun, there was no way - I could not organise, being a long weekend - any shade or even any sort of water activities for the kids, it was just too hot, honestly,"
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Despite the harsh conditions, there was a surge of customers early in the day.
"So we started at 11am but we actually got cars coming in from 10.30am. We got a massive flood of people until 2-2.30pm and then when it hit that peak temperature we were just really quiet. We had a dinner rush but I think if the NRL wasn't on we would've probably even have had a bigger dinner rush," Ms Demasi said.
Ms Demasi says they're hoping they can come back to Mudgee soon and with a bigger lineup.
It was nice to have a family-friendly event that wasn't centered around adults getting intoxicated.
"It was just one of those things isn't it. Just one of those things. Look, we were still pleased with the event, it wasn't as big as what we would have initially anticipated, no. But that doesn't mean we won't come back at a later date when it's cooler, maybe [at] a different spot," she said.
"Hopefully we can work with Council a little bit better this time and maybe - you know - we could try a little bit of a different venue."
The Mudgee Guardian reached out to several stallholders who were part of the event and who reported mixed impressions.
One food truck operator, who came to Mudgee for the first time said the turnout didn't live up to the hype.
"It was a big hyped up thing for me at least, from fellow food truckers I had heard a lot. I was told people come in droves, 'as good as Sydney'. So we went there fully prepared. Fully stocked," the man said.
"But what happened on that day, the temperatures started soaring. We were feeling heat in the shade. We could barely stand inside the truck,"
"Overall it was not bad but not as great as we had heard from fellow truckers and other stall holders. There was a mismatch from reality. We managed to do around 100 serves which was not bad. But we were expecting around 300,"
"The previous night in Forbes we did 350 serves. We thought Mudgee would be bigger."
It wasn't all negative, however. While many were disappointed, some on social media praised the event.
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Vendor The Cheesecake Co. replied simply to our request for comment with: 'Great event, I sold out by 5.30[pm].
Another attendee posted on the official event page on Facebook.
"Great food and plenty of vendors. It was great to get out and try something different. No big lines which is always a bonus too. It was nice to have a family-friendly event that wasn't centered around adults getting intoxicated. We will definitely be going if Mudgee ever has another one." they wrote.
Rural Aid benefits
100 per cent of the $2 entry fee went to supporting Rural Aid. Organiser Anna Demasi said she predicts at least 2000 people came through the gates, each giving at least $2 - sometimes more.
"We do donate to Rural Aid so they will appreciate coming out and supporting us and in turn supporting them. That's where the entry fee goes. We just appreciate that they came out even if it was quite warm," she said.
"We roughly had, I would say, about 2000 people through the door, maybe a little bit more because we were quite busy early on. But people were putting in extra. We actually had one guy that put in $80. He was like 'oh Rural Aid, here you go' and I was like 'wow, thanks so much'. So in that respect Mudgee really did show up and support that part of it."
Did you attend? What did you think?