More than 25,000 people have celebrated sustainable living alongside one of Australia’s most passionate eco-advocates at the 2019 Living Smart Festival.
The festival’s 10th anniversary featured Gardening Australia star Costa Georgiadis as the headline presenter, with the ABC star living up to his reputation for enthusiasm, knowledge and humour.
Across two presentations and a Q&A session with local backyard gardening star Lee Sullivan, Georgiadis talked about the simple steps people could take to make their everyday lives more sustainable.
The Silver Logie-winner Lake Macquarie City Council Manager Arts, Culture and Events Jacqui Hemsley said fine weather had helped boost crowds across the event weekend.
“Once again, Lake Macquarie and the whole Hunter community have embraced not only the festival, but the important messages behind it,” Ms Hemsley said.
This year’s festival kicked off with Feast For The Senses – a Friday night dinner under the stars with Masterchef finalist Steph De Sousa, fire-dancing performances and an Indian theme to the menu and music.
Saturday’s main event featured seven zones of workshops, presentations and demonstrations, more than 100 stallholders and a perennially popular native plant giveaway.
Georgiadis also judged a record number of entries in the festival’s School Garden Bed Competition, declaring Belmont Christian College the overall winner.
Edgeworth Public School took out the People’s Choice Award, with Coal Point Public School receiving a special mention for its array of plants and a biodegradable scarecrow made to resemble Georgiadis himself.
More than 200 people made use of the festival’s bike valet service, which encouraged visitors to cycle rather than drive.
For the first time, the festival included LSF Sunday Sessions, a day of laid-back music, food and drinks.
Thousands of people threw out picnic rugs and pulled up chairs by the lake’s edge to enjoy a day in the sun.
Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser said planning would soon begin on the festival’s 2020 instalment.
“Living Smart Festival has grown to become Lake Macquarie’s flagship event,” Cr Fraser said.
“We’re proud of what the event is today, and we are equally proud of our community for supporting it.”