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The Barossa Festival 2009 - Part 1

Lyndoch Family Fun Day and Greenock Town day.

My sister, The Blonde Rose, is visiting again from Western Australia for a few weeks. As part of her visit we're stopping by a few of the 2009 Barossa Festival events. Neither of us are big wine drinkers so we tend to stay away from the Winery events preferring the family events that focus on the places and history of the Valley.

The festival runs for nine days from April 11, 2009 however our first event was the Lyndoch Family Fun Day, on the 13th, held primarily at the Lyndoch Oval.

Unique to this event is the short helicopter rides (which can't be much more than five minutes) but offer some spectacular aerial views. At AU$25.00 per person neither Rose or I were prepared to part with that kind of cash for such a short trip but with two helicopters going, seemingly non stop all the time we were there, these flights were popular.

Town days (which is really all this 'Family Fun Day' was) in any country town in the Barossa are all fairly similar. Get together as many food vans as you can book, intersperse them with a few local product stalls and surround everything around a central stage with ongoing free, local entertainment. The bigger ones, like Lyndoch, even include a few carnival rides, pony rides and camel rides for the kids.

If there is one criticism I could level at Lyndoch's Family Fun day it's that there seemed to be more food stalls than anything else. Not locally produced food stalls either (although there were a few of those) but mostly your average food and drink stall selling fast food of the variety you can get at any fairground in the world.

Rose and I stayed to listen to a local band play and watched some dancers but really there wasn't that much to hold our attention. We stopped in at a local art gallery that featured a variety of artists before moving on to Greenock's Town day.

Our transport for touring around the Barossa is my Frog Van that I think I may have to rename the old boiler on account of an ongoing overheating problem that I'm having to manage. I'm not entirely sure why it's overheating but if I take it easy I can keep the engine at a constant, though still high, temperature. So we've been cruising around the Valley at a leisurely 60-70km per hour - much to the annoyance of a few drivers behind us.

Greenock's Town Day was much like Lyndoch only a lot less spread out and filling up the town centre and square entirely. On the plus side it had a lot more stalls featuring local products but, being so compact, it didn't take us long to look around. Still a plethora of food stalls but seemed like a few more were actually featuring locally produced foods.

Both of us wandered into the Greenock Institute Hall, expecting it to be filled with craft and food stalls like it was back in 2007, but instead discovered it was now an activity centre for kids. Rose didn't want to stop and try any of the activities so we hastily made our way out again.

We didn't stop to listen to too much of the entertainment on the main stage. We caught the end of a bag pipe band and stayed around to watch some Irish Dancing but that's about it.

We finished the day by driving back to my home town of Gawler and buying dinner at Cafe Nova, a local restaurant that really does serve up some great value food.

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