Knysna Oyster Festival shines with record numbers and community spirit

The recently concluded Knysna Oyster Festival has been hailed as the most successful event since the Covid era. With over 100 events, the festival has grown significantly, attracting thousands of visitors to the picturesque holiday town of Knysna.

The Festival Hub located on the Knysna High School sport field was back in full swing, offering an enticing programme that will be developed further next year.

The Forest Marathon emerged as the biggest event, with an impressive 6,500 registered participants. The Cycle Tour also saw a strong turnout, bringing 1,500 cyclists into Knysna. Other sporting events that enjoyed great success included the Harbour2Heads canoe race at the Knysna Yacht Club, which recorded a record entry of 89 boats and 123 paddlers competing in the 12 and 24 km races.

Most of the ticketed events were sold out, and Knysna was filled with creativity, fun and laughter!
The Festival Hub was bustling throughout the 10 days, with a constant flow of visitors enjoying the local crafts and food in Oyster Alley, and the Oyster Shed where a local business expo generated turnover of over R80,000 for small local businesses over eight days and a request for quotations of over R1,4 million.

Oysters took centre stage at this year’s festival and the new Oyster Roast event was a huge success, as was the Shucking Competition held on the same night. Total oyster sales in Knysna and surrounds were up 20% and, including the Oyster Hotspots, more than 20 000 oysters were consumed over the 10 days of the event.

Loerie Park was packed for the Soccer Finals, and the three different potjiekos competitions were well-supported.

The new Street Soccer Tournament was a hit and the Eden Classic Car Show attracted over 2 000 attendees.
Knysna Executive Mayor, Aubrey Tsengwa said that much of the success of the festival was due to the fantastic weather throughout the festival, with “many lovely sunny days enhancing the overall experience. In addition, the Knysna community got involved in organising events in all areas of Knysna, including Sedgefield, Hornlee, Rheenendal and Khayalethu, contributing to the festival’s vibrant atmosphere.

“It’s also worth noting that there is a charity component to the festival which requires events to donate a percentage of profits to their nominated local NPO. Donations tallied to date are in the region of R360,000.
“The Knysna Oyster Festival has once again proven to be a highlight on our town’s calendar. The festival sponsors played a crucial role in the event’s success, and their support is highly appreciated. I would like to thank Food Lover’s Market, Standard Bank, Wesgro, SANParks and Algoa FM,” said Cllr Tsengwa.

Spokesperson for the festival Lungiswa Goya said that it was amazing to see how the locals came together to make this festival happen. “Thank you to all the event managers who worked tirelessly to coordinate their functions and ensure that they ran smoothly on the day. Thank you too to the Honorary SANParks Rangers for the exquisite gardens that they created at the Festival Hub; to the accommodation establishments and eateries who hosted media before and after the event; and to the Knysna Municipal Traffic and Disaster Management for helping with traffic management.

“We are extremely grateful to everyone who supported the festival this year and participated in events, and for the patience shown by festivalgoers with the various road closures.
“We are looking forward to an even bigger and better festival next year.”

Planning for next year’s event will commence soon and already includes more activities at the Festival Hub, events specifically for teenagers, and a full funfair for children of all ages.