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OysterAn authentic township and shebeen experience has been added to the 2011 Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival programme.

For the first time in the festival’s 28 year history festival-goers will be able to experience everyday life in a township with the introduction of The Shebeen Experience. Running from 2 -9 July The Shebeen Experience offers people the opportunity to experience the music, community life and cultures of people living in a township.

Held at Club 702 in White Location over-looking the Knysna Heads, visitors can taste local cuisine while listening to local music. A battle of the DJs will also run throughout the festival.

“The Shebeen Experience is particularly for those who have never had the experience of being in such an environment as well as at the same time bringing the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival closer to the community,” said Nkoli Didi, organizer of The Shebeen Experience.

Already the largest oyster festival in Africa, the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival which takes place from 1 – 10 July will see over 65 000 visitors flocking to the small Garden Route town and over 200 000 oysters being consumed.

Another first on the festival program is the Stand Up Paddle for surfers (SUP) which takes place on the Knysna Lagoon on July 6. Here surfers standing on their boards with paddles compete against canoeists in 6km race across the lagoon.

The Hansa Waterfront Rush is back on the programme this year thanks to new sponsorship. The Rush is a race against the clock over an obstacle course setup on or above water at the Knysna Waterfront. It takes the average participant 12 minutes to complete the course and each entrant gets two chances to post a time during the first 2 days of the event.  The participants with the fastest 8 times go through to the knockout final rounds on the Sunday.

A four day rugby festival is also new to the programme. This includes a tag rugby tournament for schools in the Western Cape, an Under 13’s Rugby Coaching Clinic for local school children with the SWD Eagles and the Steri Stumpie / KURFC Oyster Development Cup 15-a-side tournament.

With over 100 events to choose from there is something for everyone at this year’s festival including township tours, the Pick n Pay Oyster Festival Soccer Tournament, the SA Dog Agility Championships, the Athletics SWD & Knysna Marathon Club Relays, a Boccia Tournament for the disabled, the Precision Drill Display by Sea Cadets of TS, the Oyster Rapid Chess Tournament, the Hornlee Oyster Festival Fun Run/Walk (5km) and the Knysna Classic Golf Day to name a few. So choose your activity, get training, pack up the family and book to be part of SA’s winter holiday destination of choice to make sure you don’t miss out. For further information visit www.oysterfestival.co.za or call Knysna Tourism on 044 382 5510.