The people of the Sundays River Valley are ensuring that visitors to the annual Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees brought to you in association with DStv will be getting even more value for money this year.
The organisers have kept all fees at 2011 levels, while increasing the range of experiences and entertainment for the whole family for 2012.
It will run from Friday, June 29 to Sunday, July 1, 2012.
“In solidarity with our visitors and stallholders during tough times, we have not increased the gate entrance fee or that of the exhibitors and food outlets,” said festival director Jenni Honsbein at the official launch in Port Elizabeth, today.
“We have been able to achieve this because many of our suppliers have also frozen their costs, and also due to the additional sponsorship attracted by the Wildsfees, which is now in its 11th year,” she says.
The Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees is a community project run through a non-profit company.
“The Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees has grown in leaps and bounds over the past ten years and a festival of this nature is not possible without strategic partners. Absa believes that its investment in this event is benefitting the people of the Sunday’s River Valley with tangible outcomes, as it puts back all profits made into community based projects. Its partnership is supporting the focus areas of the festival being tourism, environment and environmental education. The success of these important factors will ensure the sustainability of this small but important community of Kirkwood and the greater Sunday’s River Valley, which is very relevant to Absa’s business.” says Kgalaletso Tlhoaele, Regional Executive Eastern and Southern Cape
This year’s Wildsfees includes a full programme of entertainment, as well as the experience of shopping at over 300 specialist stalls, wild rides, wild animals, wild shows, and the annual wildlife auction.
Visitors will also experience a festival of firsts. For the first time the festival is hosting a “mohair journey”. Designs from The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) and Mode University in Japan’s collaboration projects will be on show, along with other mohair products and live goats in a Mohair South Africa exhibition.
Another first is the staging of a dramatic production, “My Naam is Ellen Pakkies,” a riveting story of a mother from the Cape Flats who killed her Tik-addicted son. Ellen is portrayed by Vinette Ebrahim – known as Charmaine Meintjes in 7de Laan.
On the lighter side, Quattro – “an Italian Flavoured Review” will be seen on stage in the Eastern Cape for the first time. Many of the artists appearing on stage will be in the Eastern Cape for the first time this year.
Headline acts include Karen Zoid, Snotkop, Arno Carstens, Elvis Blue Valiant Swart, Romanz, Emo Adams, and Chris Chameleon and his band will ensure that the festival ends on a high note.
On the wild side, baby crocodiles make their appearance for the first time in the “Walk on the Wildside” experience, where visitors can also touch snakes, owls and other raptors. “The Addo Elephant National Park display is always a highlight of this attraction,” says Honsbein.
Penguins will also be seen inland in Kirkwood for the first time, with the South African Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre (SAMREC) giving demonstrations and talks on rehabilitation and the plight of the highly endangered African penguin.
There will also be talks on the control of predators. “And, of course, we will be focusing on the fight against rhino poaching – which is unfortunately another first at the festival,” she says.
This year’s Absa Kirkwood Festival includes an expanding agricultural show, which will be used by suppliers to introduce a number of new products, while the car show – the biggest in the Eastern Cape – will include a number of new models.
Wine lovers will find new vintages and varietals in the Kyknet Leefstyl Plein – the place where food lovers will also be able to savour new tastes and flavours.
“Kids can also go wild in the Yum-Chum Kidz Zone, so everyone is welcome to join us the Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees brought to you in association with DStv,” says Honsbein.
The 2012 Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees runs from June 29 to July 1, and offers a wild weekend for the whole family. Entry fees for the festival on Friday and Sunday are R70 for adults and R35 for children; and R100 for adults and R50 for children on Saturday. Visit www.wildsfees.co.za for more information.