Picnic with the Mad Hatter a sellout

BENDIGO Botanical Gardens was transformed into a foodies wonderland - with a focus on local producers, restaurants, wineries and breweries. 

The inaugural Picnic with the Mad Hatter, co-ordinated by local food network Food Fossickers, featured more than 30 vendors from across the region at the weekend. 

Festival goers sipped glasses of wine and sampled dishes from the region's best restaurants while children were kept entertained with egg and spoon races.  

Bec and Dave Hogan, and their two children, Mabel, 1, and Audrey, 3, only moved to Bendigo a few months ago and were looking for something to do. 

Bec said the festival's emphasis on local food and wine was a "big drawcard".

"It was awesome," she said. 

"It was one of the reasons we came."

McIvor Estate owner Gary Harbor said the festival was a chance for businesses to showcase their food and wine. 

"It's great for exposure," he said. 

"We distribute most of our product to Melbourne so this (was) an opportunity to get our name out there locally."

Food Fossickers committee member Bryley Savage said the festival had been a sell out. 

"We sold about 800 adult tickets, which is full capacity," she said.

"This will be great to build on next year."

Ms Savage said Food Fossickers had been around for about five years and the festival encouraged local producers, restaurants, wineries and breweries to work together to showcase the best of the region. 

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