The leafy surrounds of Hyde Park North will host the Sydney Food & Wine Fair on October 29 in what is now its 21st year.

The fair’s creative coordinator, chef Marc Kuzma said attendees should expect a great mix of live music and circus acts this year.

“This is one of the best line up in my 14 years as talent coordinator for the fair,” Kuzma said. “Maxi Shield is back as our MC and Trevor Ashley will be previewing his Mardi Gras 2012 show Diamonds are for Trevor.

“Following an amazing year of sold-out shows at Slide, Catherine Alcorn will be doing a half-hour of her Divine Miss Bette show, while Jeremy Brennan of Jersey Boys fame and King Casual will open the day.”

The El’Circo troupe will perform between musical acts so expect magic, juggling, contortion, acrobatics and pole work featuring Matty Shield, Emma Lian Goh and Suzie Q and Toby J — all semi-finalists on Australia’s Got Talent this year.

Café of the Gate of Salvation will be there for the choir fans, The Isaac Show for the jazz fans, plus Ignite Spirit cheerleading and many more.

“Expect non-stop entertainment on the main stage from 11.30 am until 5pm,” Kuzma said.

Event coordinator Andrew Birley told the Star Observer that despite the shaky global economic climate, more than 50 food and beverage stalls were participating in this year’s fair, with many past favourites returning.

“There are some fantastic names participating this year — restaurants like Catalina, Café Sydney, Flying Fish, Longrain, Guillaume at Bennelong, Mezzaluna,” Birley said.

“A lot of people who have been associated with the fair for many years are returning as supporters this year.”

Birley said the fair was a great chance to sample some top-notch gourmet food and wine that might usually be out of their price range.

“It’s the major drawcard of the Sydney Food & Wine Fair — that visitors have the opportunity to experience food from these top restaurants that they might otherwise not have the opportunity to do,” he said. “Food at the fair is very reasonably priced for the quality that is on offer.”

AIDS Trust of Australia CEO Greg Gahl said the Sydney Food & Wine Fair had raised $55,000 surplus available for charitable distribution and close to $2 million in its 21-year history.

“This event remains an ongoing expression of the food and wine industry’s support for the fight against HIV, that ongoing concern, and its capacity to do something about it,” Gahl said.

“It’s also a big Sydney event that has a strong relationship to the largest LGBTI community in the country.

“We’ve got a fabulous list of restaurants and a fabulous list of beverage people this year, but it’s the combined effect of all of the people who participate and all of the people who contribute and the combined support of all of our patrons that is really the most wonderful thing.

“To do all that for 21 years is for me what makes it most amazing.”

Gahl said the event would not have been the success it was without the support of the Sydney LGBTI community.

“We would very much like to say thank you to your readership,” Gahl said. “From the earliest days, the reason the Sydney Food & Wine Fair was successful was because of the concern and then the response by the key at-risk community.

“Your readership has carried this event through the years and maintained a relationship with it, and the AIDS Trust of Australia is incredibly grateful for that.

“So our real message is one of thanks in this 21st year to really, genuinely thank the community.”

Gahl said an example of the kind of projects the AIDS Trust of Australia supported included a major AIDS prevention initiative among Indigenous Australians.

“Of greatest note at the moment is the funding of the Anwernekenhe National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV/AIDS Alliance,” Gahl said.

“It has a quadrennial conference and then does the work that comes out of that.

“Last August was the fifth quadrennial conference and so there will now be four years of work in relation to HIV and AIDS for Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander communities. That particular project has kept actual incidents of HIV in many Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander communities lower than in the general community.

“It’s a very important initiative and it’s predominantly Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander community members talking about HIV and AIDS, working out what the problems are in the various communities nationally, and then doing something about it.”

INFO: www.aidstrust.com.au/foodandwinefair.html

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