Kirstin Nicholson, all photos, The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper
The Cohuna community was treated to a gala event at the weekend which involved a host of celebrities, fine dining and entertainment. The Apiam Chef and Chandeliers Gala was organised by the Cohuna and District Progress Association (CDPA) and over 200 guests attended the event at the Memorial Hall where they dined on a meal prepared by celebrity chef, Manu Feildel, using produce from the region.
Guests arrived from 6.45pm for pre-dinner drinks on the council lawn where they mingled with visiting celebrities, Kerri-Anne Kennerley, Glen-Marie Frost, Joh Bailey, Alan Jones and Manu Feildel.
A bagpiper led guests along a red carpet to the front door of the Memorial Hall where they entered and were greeted with chandelier adorned tables, with larger chandeliers hanging from above, and dimmed lighting.
Throughout the night, guests were entertained by local entertainers – pianist, Rachael Warren; Jefferson Smith and Route 66; and visiting singer, Julie Walters.
An auction was also held with 12 items up for grabs including dinner parties, massages, signed books, pet treatment packages, a grand princess chandelier and the signature item, artwork titled ‘Ngurrungbang’ (my land, my country, my place of birth) by Kevin Williams of the Waradjuri tribe.
CDPA president, Andrew Gibbs, said he was thrilled with how the event went. “Our celebrities had a great time and some of them are coming back to do events next year. Manu was amazing, the kids loved him, everyone loved him, he is so easy to get along with – and the food was beautiful.”
The celebrities’ weekend kicked off with tea at the Gunbower Hotel on Friday evening, which received rave reviews from Mrs Kennerley who said she had the best fillet steak in a long time.
On Saturday morning, Manu visited eight district producers and sampled their produce. Accompanied by CDPA representative, Keith Link, Manu was choppered between locations. The menu for the gala had been planned using produce from each business, and these producers were at the gala dinner to enjoy the resulting feast.
The other celebrities toured the district and cruised the Gunbower Creek. “It was so lovely out on the water, the area is just stunning,” said Ms Frost.
Joh Bailey conducted pony club sessions and a very impressed Kerri-Anne Kennerley played 21 holes of golf with members at the Cohuna Golf Club.
“The greens are first class, and the course is just gorgeous,” she said. “With the greenskeeper and a roster of volunteers, it’s amazing. I was gobsmacked at how beautiful the course is kept, and that’s a lot of work from a lot of really good people.”
A keen golfer, Mrs Kennerley would like to play more golf courses on the Murray now that she has retired. “I’ve heard so many fabulous reports about all the great golf courses on the Murray,” she said.
Mr Gibbs said he was blessed with a great team of volunteers and expressed his appreciation to the Lions Club, Leos and other volunteers who assisted over the weekend. He said that in addition to the positive energy around the town, the producers had had a lot of hits on their websites, and two corporates who attended the dinner indicated their interest in funding the first stage of the childcare centre. “All in all, we’ve had a good outcome,” he said.
Final figures including the amount raised by CDPA will be released in the next few weeks.
This article appeared in The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper, 2 December 2021.