'Where is your organiser?' asked the gent on the scooter. He had buzzed down the road into the Buffalo Bay parking lot as we were loading the last of the equipment onto the trailer. Directed to event manager Amanda Dixon and Roger Wynne-Dyke of EDGE of AFRICA Beach Festival, he exploded 'Congratulations on a slick and smooth event with every attention to the tiniest detail!' and buzzed off before Roger and the rest of the crew could respond or even ask his name. It was the cherry on the top of a wonderful day, a magnificent end to another successful summer Beach Festival of sports, music and sand sculptures.
After postponing the 16th December start of Beach Fest due to pouring rain and heavy winds, Saturday 18th dawned to be a spectacular sunrise and, once the thick eerie mist lifted, the sunniest, hottest and windless day the Garden Route had seen in weeks. The team couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day!
By 8am a great vibe was in the air as the local kids soccer teams arrived in taxi's at Brenton on Sea and headed down to the mist shrouded beach. After a brief introduction of the proceedings the teams set off down the beach for the 5km walk to Buffalo Bay. Their first challenge was to collect as much washed up litter en route which was to be used in a 'creative design' competition highlighting the danger of coastal litter on marine life. This was more of an experience than the organisers had planned; for some of the team members this was the first time they had ever experienced the beach and for most this was to be one of the longest nature walks that they had ever done in their lives- hopefully an inspiration for a lifetime of nature walks.
After collecting a staggering amount of high tide litter, all budding artists' talents shone through challenging the judges to select a winner. It was the Cross Roads team that captured the spirit of the competition depicting a dolphin 'littered' with plastic trash.
The first Sand Sculpture Challenge of the day was enthusiastically entered into by a number of families on the beach who chose from the categories Animal, Fantasy, Comic or Classic castle. The judges had a hard time judging winners of the first 15 impressive sculptures but the overall winner went to a giant hippo 'wading' in beach sand.
By 10am, the beach was packed and the full sporting program of the festival was underway. Kids of all ages mixed and joined to form teams to compete in Touch rugby, beach soccer and volley ball. Rugby fans were treated to some fantastic displays of deceptive feints, accurate passes and bursts of speed whilst both formal and informal soccer teams delighted in the beautiful game enjoying the liberty of literally bouncing off the walls inside the giant inflatable beach pitch. The enclosure changes the dynamic of the game as there are no out of play passes and astute players could capitalise on the rebounds. And there was no shortage of talent both in the girls and boys teams with one player's rendition of Pele's cartwheel kick! The impact of the 2010 World Cup on the youngsters of the country was evident, especially between the matches with everyone delighting in the thrill of simply kicking a ball at goal.
Belgian volleyballer Jonas Belaen refereed the volleyball and was highly impressed by the skills shown by the local teams of Knysna. Witnessing some power serves, long dives and short quick bursts of speed to return balls, it was local team Shamwari that took first place.
Rasta band Judah Square turned the atmosphere tropical when they arrived and played their chilled set whilst looking over the calm azure blue waters of Buff Bay. This, together with the arrival of a giant motor yacht made one feel you were lazing somewhere off the Carribean islands!
Although winds weren't quite right for them, paragliding outfit Windmaster paragliders had their 'trike' there to demonstrate to all who were interested exactly how the little beast worked.
Many beachgoers commented on just how much fun and what a great day they'd had and promised they'd be back again next year. So if you missed out on the 2010 summer Beach Festival of sports, music and sand sculptures, be sure to mark off December 16th 2011 and we'll see you next time round!
Special thanks to this years sponsors & Supporters: EDGE of AFRICA, Knysna Tourism, Knysna Municipality, Local Football Association, Sinethemba Youth Centre, Tumbleweed Events, Mark Dixon, Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Pam Golding, Nedbank, Swing Café, Tryst, Knysna Equipment Hire, AV Design, Baz Bus, Elephant Sanctuary, Pick n Pay, Garden Route Game Lodge, Il De Pain, Cape Nature, SANParks, Knysna Traffic Department, Buffalo Bay Residents & Homeowners Association, Buffalo Bay Restaurant, Vitamin Water, Oasis Water, Windmaster, NSRI, Lapland, 3@1, First Care Paramedics & all staff involved!