Welcome South Africans!
Howzit! For eight years now we’ve been doing our best to produce a festival that our fellow South Africans can be proud of and enjoy. It’s a pretty big undertaking for a small farm winery. We need way more volunteers, especially you with your nice South African accent. 90% of our past SA Fest volunteers have been Americans! What’s up with that? Can you imagine how confusing it is to hear the person who just served you your Boerie roll say “thanks y’all” Come now, quit complaining that the bobotie didn’t taste like your mama’s - join the party and make a difference. We’ll appreciate your help, love your practical ideas, and laugh at your jokes. You’ll have fun and remember just how cool and special it is to be South African.
If you just want to come and enjoy, please do. While the main focus of the festival is to promote our homeland and it’s products to those who may not know about it - we’re here for you too. The festival has been a great meet-up for South Africans so throw on your SA gear and join us. Whether you’re serving wine or on the other side of the counter please remember that we are all ambassadors for South Africa - so don’t be shy - there will be plenty of Americans, French, Germans etc. who are curious about where you come from. Shake some hands and make new friends. Help us spread the word about South Africa and its amazing food, wine, music, sports and diverse cultures.
If you want to volunteer, donate, or sponsor, or if you just want to say howzit, give me a call or drop me an email.
Contact me directly:
And yes, you guessed it - these are questions we hear yearly from South Africans
This thing looks like it’s run by Americans, Where are the South Africans?Eating the Boerewors, not serving it - are you mad?One South African in the family is enough, so I’m told. Keep looking, you’ll find a handful of ex pats volunteering at the festival. We wish more South Africans would join us for this event and we’ll keep trying. Where’s the beer, chana?There are only 2 distributors that carry anything close to what you would find in SA - one is in Florida the other in California. After shipping, that would give you a retail price of about $18 for a bier...ouch! We’re nostalgic for Castle Lager too - but not that much. We’re still working on this - its a long-term project, maybe next year. In the mean time - please please do not bring your own, as it would be a serious violation of our ABC license. Why is everything so expensive?We are one of the least expensive wine festivals in Virginia and the ticket prices don’t cover all the expenses. If you think about it, one person could easily “taste” their way through $25 worth of wine samples...and many do. Our expenses range from the required $2mil. insurance policy, county permits and fees, tents, tables, chairs, Zulu performers from NYC, restrooms, feeding volunteers and the list goes on and on. Rusks at $7.50! That’s outrageous! We think so too! Funny thing is, when you import those legally, you have to pay for shipping, import taxes and the importer/distributor person in the middle has to make some money too and then we still have to have it shipped to Virginia, etc. We are only open two days a year - we’re not purchasing in mass quantities so we’re not given price breaks. You might find Ms. Balls Chutney 75 cents cheaper at a chain store - but here you’ll get to taste it first. Ahh, the food! Running the food for this festival is like running a restaurant that is outdoors, only open two days a year, you have no idea how many people are going to show up and you can’t sell your leftovers on Monday. The Boerewors sausage, for example, is extremely expensive to produce and at about $9 - they are priced fairly in our opinion. You would pay that or more for an Italian sausage at the state fair. We could get the food cost down if we ran the festival every day of the year - but that would kill us. What’s up with the Biltong?BraaiTime, - great stuff - ask for a sample before you buy. The only difference from home? In the US, the cattle are different breeds and they graze on different grasses at different altitudes - so no matter how talented the folks at BraaiTime are - US meats taste a bit different. Is this festival run for charity?The festival has not yet filed for its 501c3, though its in the works. South Africa is truly the recipient of all of the good will and promotion of the festival. Our wine producers, peri peri sauce makers, travel agents and so forth are the ones who benefit the most from the festival. That is who we’re working our tails off for. We don’t sell this stuff year round - we’re just looking to put it on the map. We get lots of letters, and even visits, from South African winery owners thanking us for helping launch their brands and creating more demand for their wines...that’s what its all about. I wrote an email with feedback last year, why didn’t I hear back?We get lots of emails and do our best to respond to everyone, we have a very small staff and can’t always keep up. If you didn’t hear back, your email might have landed in a spam folder. If you wrote something nice, thank you. If you sent a nasty-gram, your email might have landed on the campfire at our SA Fest Volunteer Appreciation Party after we read it out loud to the 150 folks who volunteered their time to make the festival happen. We don’t get many Flame emails so we like to have fun with it, and no, we most likely won’t write you back but thanks for the kindling. Seriously, we do appreciate, listen to and incorporate practical feedback. Almost all non-practical suggestions have to do with expenses, so before you suggest that we give away ponies or fly in 15 South African rock bands from JoBurg - check out how much that costs first. And remember - volunteers have loads of input, so sign up if you’re serious. I am a Kosher Vegan who is allergic to nuts, wheat, corn, and tomatoes, will there be food available?If this is true, you are probably used to having to pack your own food everywhere you go. We are not Kosher; if you’re highly allergic to anything, bring your own lunch and an Epi pen; Grayhaven wines are Vegan, and yes we know exactly what that means, so drink up;-) Cannot say the same for the South African wines so stick to the Grayhaven wines if you’re Vegan. If you have questions about the food, esp vegetarian choices, ask your server for details or ask the chef.