Easy living, Sedgefield style

06 February 2013 - 02:20 By Sue Olswang
The Sand Sculpting Challenge is one of the many activities that form part of Sedgefield's Slow Festival Picture: DESMOND SCHOLTZ
The Sand Sculpting Challenge is one of the many activities that form part of Sedgefield's Slow Festival Picture: DESMOND SCHOLTZ

IN Sedgefield, situated between Wilderness and Knysna, the living is slow and easy. One newish resident, who admits he is smitten by the Garden Route seaside village, remarked that it is "full of old, old hippies and creeehaative types".

Not a bad thing when you consider that old hippies, who were young in the 1960s, when sit-ins ruled, are generally non-violent types who were passionate about peace and were way too wasted on illegals during their youth to have the will to wage war.

They are also the kind of people who know how to live with respect for the environment, and how to have fun in fabulous, old-fashioned ways.

Coming up soon in this bursting-with-creative-energy village - which is surrounded by vegetated sand dunes, fynbos and lakes - is the annual Slow Festival.

Breathtakingly beautiful from every view point, Sedgefield was declared Africa's first Cittaslow town in October 2010. Inspired by the concept of "slow food" (think the complete opposite of "fast food"), Cittaslow is a worldwide membership organisation that promotes a better quality of life and a resistance to fast-lane lifestyles.

Cittaslow, literally translated as "slow city", originated in Italy and the organisation now represents around 100 towns all over the world. Adhering to values aimed at improving quality of life, registered Cittaslow towns and villages "celebrate diversity of cultures and promote the specialities of their own people and surroundings".

Sedgefield's Slow Festival is held during the Easter break and is the only one of its kind on the continent. It's a festival, according to the website, to celebrate the "real" things in life, like "wholesome goodness, family, friends, fun, the outdoors and great food''.

Great food is a certainty if the village's very popular Saturday morning market is anything to judge by. During a recent visit to Sedgefield, I noticed that, by 11am, almost everything was sold out in the food section at the market, so get there early to avoid disappointment. The Saturday morning food market is the best I have ever visited.

During next month's Slow Festival, there are - in addition to the usual delights of sun, sea and beaches - lots of activities for every member of the family. There is entertainment of every kind and competitions, and the heartwarming news is that many local charities are supported by monies raised during the festival.

Included on the list of festival fun are a Fun Dog Walk, Mountain Bike Challenge, Geo-Treasure Hunt, Boules Tournament, Paragliding Challenge, Music Trivia Evening, Kite Flying, The Goukamma Traverse, Food and Wine pairing evening, Legendary Gig @ Pine Lake Marina, Funky Hair Challenge, Beerpong Champs, Easter Street Parade, Easter Bunny Beach Fling and Sand Sculpting Challenge. The markets will offer foods, coffee and organic products, and arts and crafts. Make sure you don't miss the Miss Slow Fest Beauty Pageant.

A recent addition to the festival is a Slow Food and Wine Marque that gives visitors the opportunity to sample fine wines from award-winning estates and savour dishes created by some of Sedgefield's acclaimed chefs.

Outside of the festival there is so much to do in this little village that every day is a new adventure.

There are mosaics to view, vleis to visit, beaches to walk, mountains to climb, water for swimming and canoeing, paragliding, and so much more. And when you are done in Sedgefield, there is Knysna to visit travelling one way on the N2, and Wilderness travelling in the other direction.

The festival is on from March 29 to March 31. For more information visit the Slow Festival website on www.slowfestival.co.za