Thursday, 27 July 2017

Epicenter: 130,000 square feet of indoor sports, entertainment

Packed with a unique mix of attractions built for adults but fun for kids, the new Epicenter in Santa Rosa in Sonoma County is the San Francisco North Bay’s largest all-in-one destination for sports, recreation, entertainment, dining, and nightlife.

Entertainment options include: an upscale bowling lounge, 100-plus game arcade, two-story laser tag arena, laser maze, multi-sensory 7D adventure ride, interactive mega-play structure for kids, and toddler play area.

The sports facilities include: an arena sports center for basketball, volleyball, and more; a 24-hour, 365-days-a-year fitness center; and a trampoline park.

Kick back and watch the action in a sports bar and restaurant with two 40-foot walls filled with massive screens, multi-zone surround sound, and the ability to show up to 14 games at once. Grab pizza by the slice, nachos, and more in a sport-themed concession-style restaurant. Or relax and refuel at Starbucks.

Epicenter delivers 130,000 square feet of fun, food, and entertainment, all conveniently located under one roof.

Epicenter Sports and Entertainment

3215 Coffey Lane
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
707-708-3742
www.visitepicenter.com

YAMATO THE DRUMMERS OF JAPAN Set to tour Australia

YAMATO THE DRUMMERS OF JAPAN
YAMATO THE DRUMMERS OF JAPAN are touring Australia from 8 September to 6 October 2017 including stops in Sydney, Queensland, Perth and Adelaide.
Since 1993, YAMATO have performed in 53 countries around the world, reaching over 6 million people, making them the most prolific Japanese performing art group to tour internationally.
YAMATO are the epitome of the Japanese spirit and bring new life to the traditional Japanese taiko and wadaiko drums by paying respect to its rich history and exploring contemporary drumming styles.
Beginning with the boom of a taiko drum made from a large 400 year-old tree, performers move their whole bodies to strike the drum with a powerful surge of energy that uplifts audiences in sync with the rhythm and intensity.
YAMATO is based in a village called Asuka, known as the birthplace of Japanese culture, and the group pride themselves on their expression of the ancient Japanese spirit.
The group live together in a community and create everything themselves, including the musical compositions, lighting design, choreography, performance techniques, makeup, and props such as the bachi (sticks) used in performances. In a first for the company, YAMATO will wear outfits designed by international fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto.
YAMATO’s newest display of originality and innovation takes the form of “The Challengers” tour performing in 16 cities across Australia, offering an anthem of encouragement to all to pursue life’s challenges with courage.
  

AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES

8 September - Bundaberg, QLD
MONCRIEFF ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE, 7.30pm
11 September - Maryborough, QLD
BROLGA THEATRE, 7.30pm

12 September -Toowoomba, QLD
EMPIRE THEATRE, 8pm

14 September - Port Macquarie, NSW
GLASS HOUSE THEATRE, 7.30pm

15 September - Newcastle, NSW
CIVIC THEATRE, 8pm

16 & 17 September - Sydney, NSW
ROSLYN PACKER THEATRE WALSH BAY, 7.30 (16 Sept), 5.00 (17 Sept)

19 September - Sutherland, NSW
ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE, 8pm

21 September - Bathurst, NSW
MEMORIAL ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE, 7.30pm

23 September - Torrensville, SA
THEBARTHON THEATRE, 8pm

27 September - Kalgoorlie, WA
GOLDFIELDS ARTS CENTRE, 7.30pm

29 September - Esperance, WA
CIVIC CENTRE, 7.30pm

2 October - Bunbury, WA
REGIONAL ENTERTIAINMENT CENTRE BREC, 7.30pm

3 October - Mandurah, WA
PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE, 7.30pm

5 October - Perth, WA
HIS MAJESTY'S THEATRE, 7.30pm

6 October - Geraldton, WA
QUEENS PARK THEATRE, 7.30pm

CELEBRATE BAY AREA TASTEMAKERS WITH EAT DRINK SF

The Golden Gate Restaurant Association's annual Eat Drink SF celebration returns on August 24 - 27, 2017. The premier annual food, wine, and spirits festival for the city was founded in 2009 to celebrate the Bay Area's world-class restaurant community. Held over four days, tastings, demonstrations, and signature events such as Taco Knockdown and Grand Tasting sessions allow chefs to connect directly with more than 8,500 food lovers and culinary aficionados. Sommeliers, brewers, and top mixologists are on-hand as well to complement delicious dishes and satisfy taste buds.

Taco Knockdown at The Pearl
Thu. August 24 at 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.
This fun and irreverent competition kicks off the festival, with more than 15 restaurants competing with their interpretation of "fold-able food that pays homage to the legacy of the taco" rules. Guests get to try every taco and vote for the People's Choice Winner, with a panel of experts selecting their own.

Grand Tasting Sessions at Fort Mason's Festival PavilionThe Golden Gate Restaurant Association's annual Eat Drink SF celebration returns on August 24 - 27, 2017. The premier annual food, wine, and spirits festival for the city was founded in 2009 to celebrate the Bay Area's world-class restaurant community. Held over four days, tastings, demonstrations, and signature events such as Taco Knockdown and Grand Tasting sessions allow chefs to connect directly with more than 8,500 food lovers and culinary aficionados. Sommeliers, brewers, and top mixologists are on-hand as well to complement delicious dishes and satisfy taste buds.

Taco Knockdown at The Pearl
Thu. August 24 at 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.
This fun and irreverent competition kicks off the festival, with more than 15 restaurants competing with their interpretation of "fold-able food that pays homage to the legacy of the taco" rules. Guests get to try every taco and vote for the People's Choice Winner, with a panel of experts selecting their own.

Grand Tasting Sessions at Fort Mason's Festival Pavilion
Fri. Aug. 25 at 7:15 - 10 p.m.
Sat. Aug. 26 at 12:45 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Sun Aug. 27 at 12:45 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
The signature event of Eat Drink SF, each Grand Tasting features more than 30 different top Bay Area restaurants that rotate at every session. More than 70 bars, distilleries, breweries, and wineries are highlighted, pouring tastes and batch cocktails. Guests can watch culinary demonstrations and presentations on the main stage and attend a drink-focused program in the beverage classroom presented by the San Francisco Wine School. Games in the Backyard Bites zone, a resident DJ, and interactive presentations are also offered to explore. Note: VIP ticket purchases allows for an earlier entry than general admission.

Eat Drink SF is a quintessential San Francisco experience for food enthusiasts and a chance to eat one's way through the best that the city has to offer. For more information, including ticket prices, this year's schedule, and galleries from past years, please visit Eat Drink SF's website. Tickets are on-sale online starting May 23.

Fri. Aug. 25 at 7:15 - 10 p.m.
Sat. Aug. 26 at 12:45 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Sun Aug. 27 at 12:45 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

The signature event of Eat Drink SF, each Grand Tasting features more than 30 different top Bay Area restaurants that rotate at every session. More than 70 bars, distilleries, breweries, and wineries are highlighted, pouring tastes and batch cocktails. Guests can watch culinary demonstrations and presentations on the main stage and attend a drink-focused program in the beverage classroom presented by the San Francisco Wine School. Games in the Backyard Bites zone, a resident DJ, and interactive presentations are also offered to explore. Note: VIP ticket purchases allows for an earlier entry than general admission.

Eat Drink SF is a quintessential San Francisco experience for food enthusiasts and a chance to eat one's way through the best that the city has to offer. For more information, including ticket prices, this year's schedule, and galleries from past years, please visit Eat Drink SF's website. Tickets are on-sale online starting May 23.

SYDNEY INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW CELEBRATES 50TH AT DARLING HARBOUR

Sydney International Boat Show
Darling Harbour will be transformed into a dazzling spectacle for boating enthusiasts, both on the water and in the exhibition halls, with the Sydney International Boat Show set to celebrate its 50thyear. The Boat Show has a great history, and its reputation as one of Australia’s premier events keeps bringing the public back year after year.

The 50th celebrations will coincide with a return fully to Darling Harbour, with the Show taking up the whole of the newly built International Conference Centre Sydney (ICC), and the nearby marina at Cockle Bay. Many people have a fond association with the Sydney International Boat Show and Darling Harbour, with the area being the spiritual home of the Show since 1989.

The ICC is the perfect venue for the Boat Show and will be the biggest consumer display at the venue, with twice the space for exhibitors as previous facilities. The ICC has two levels of exhibition space, including a 5000-square metre outdoor event deck.

BIA CEO Howard Glenn expects this year’s Show to be the best yet. “The Sydney International Boat Show is a tremendous opportunity to display all that recreational boating has to offer. The 50thanniversary is a testament to the popularity of the boating lifestyle. We welcome people from all walks of life that are passionate about spending time on the water”.

Excitement is building for the Show, which will run from 3 to 7 August, with 60,000 visitors expected to explore the halls and the adjoining marina, which will showcase some mammoth luxury boats and cruising yachts. The aim of this expansive event is all about inspiring visitors with dreams of luxury and escapism, displaying some magnificent boats, as well as gear and gadgets for the perfect boating getaway.

The Show also encourages a safe boating lifestyle, and there is access to information and education regarding buying your first boat and proper boating safety. Show partners Transport for NSW hosts the Boating Safety Zone. This is a must for visitors wanting the latest information on how to make your time on the water with family and friends better.

Anyone who is interested in experiencing a world class event, in a world class location should not miss this remarkable display.

Halls will open from 10am to 8pm, while the marina will open from 10am to 7pm. Tickets can be purchased online now, if you buy online you will be entered into a draw to win a Hobie 12’ Pedalboard. Visitors wanting more information or to buy tickets should visit the website www.sydneyboatshow.com.au   

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Blue Waters Kayaking offering rentals at Lake Sonoma’s Yorty Creek

Folks who want to paddle or float away from it all can now rent a kayak, canoe, standup paddleboard, or inner tube from Blue Waters Kayaking on weekends at Lake Sonoma’s Yorty Creek Recreation Area in northern Sonoma County.

Lake Sonoma offers more than 50 miles of coastline and 40 miles of trails. The Yorty Creek Recreation Area public launch site (car-top boats only) provides a slightly quieter feeling than other parts of this large lake, because it is in a no-wake zone.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends, Blue Waters Kayaking rents single and double kayaks, canoes, stand up paddleboards, and inner tubes right next to Yorty Creek’s boat launch. Private tours from Yorty Creek are available on any day of the week with advance reservations.

Blue Waters also offers Lake Sonoma Full Moon Camping Tours. Their lakeside campsite is easily reached by a scenic paddle, and is equipped with camp chairs, a camp stove, grill, firewood for one fire, and fresh water. It’s also staffed by one of Blue waters’ capable and friendly kayak guides. The Full Moon tour includes a guided night paddle from camp.

Blue Waters Kayaking
At Yorty Creek Recreation Area (Lake Sonoma)
2651 Hot Springs Road
Cloverdale CA 95425
415-669-2600
www.bluewaterskayaking.com/lakesonoma

MT STIRLING HUB TO BE POWERED BY MICRO-HYDRO SYSTEM

Mount Stirling TBJ Hub Opening
The Telephone Box Junction hub located on Mt Stirling in Victoria's high country will be powered by a newly completed hydro system after receiving a $210,000 grant from the Victorian Government. 

The hub was officially opened by Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Victoria Danielle Green this week, joined by representatives of local businesses and Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management Board members.

The original hydro system, built by Mt Stirling business operators in the late 1990’s was destroyed in fires that swept through the resort in the summer of 2006-2007. Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management embarked on a journey to plan and fund the replacement of the diesel generator that had since been powering facilities at Telephone Box Junction. 

Extensive research was conducted to find the best, most cost-effective and sustainable solution. The micro-hydroelectricity system, working on water pressure generated from a turbine and nearby stream and weir was identified as the most appropriate option to power the hub with minimal impact on the surrounding environment. 

Ms Green is passionate about Victoria's Alpine areas and said of the Telephone Box Junction hub investment, "Visitors and locals alike are set to benefit from this innovative development that supports the growing Alpine tourism industry while also protecting the environment”.

The funding for the project not only went towards the hydro system but also to providing better facilities for visitors to Mt Stirling.  This included an all-weather access track from King Saddle to the Machinery Shed, a new public toilet at the Machinery Shed, new shelters, and a community information board at Howqua Gap.

Environmental Services Manager for Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management, Lou Perrin, said of the project "We are so excited to have the hydro system up and running. I've worked closely on the project from beginning to end and it has been worth every challenge. The improvements to the amenity and facilities will provide long-term benefits to the mountain and visitors alike.

"Funding from the Victorian Government has allowed us to create a truly environmentally sustainable hub here at Mt Stirling".

The hub was jointly funded from the Victorian Government’s $500 million dollar Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund and Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management.

New Zealand’s 7th year participating at AFNC 2017 hailed a success

A team of 6 partners from New Zealand met with over 500 delegates at the 12th Associations Forum National Conference last week at Sydney ICC.

Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) Australia Manager Sharon Auld said delegates at the conference kept coming back to the 100% Pure New Zealand stand over the two days. “With true Kiwi Manaakitanga (hospitality), we had a constant flow of Antipodes New Zealand Artesian water available to refresh delegates throughout the conference, as well as a special Cloudy Bay wine event on day two.” Sharon said Delegates also had the opportunity to help colour in a large scale Maori design in traditional Maori colours red, black and white, which increased engagement on the stand.

The NZ team were on hand to explain the support available to Associations for their business events, regardless of how big or small. Of particular interest was the marketing support which can be applied for through Tourism New Zealand’s Conference Assistance Programme.

The team ran a prize draw and the lucky prize winner, Sue McGrath of Australian Veterinary Association won a case of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc delivered to her door.

The New Zealand representatives at the 12th AFNC in Sydney on 17 and 18 July were :
  • Auckland Museum - Tamaki Paenga Hira
  • Christchurch & Canterbury Convention Bureau
  • Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ)
  • Destination Rotorua Business Events
  • Hobbiton™ Movie Set
  • The Langham Auckland
  • Skyline Queenstown
  • Tourism New Zealand

SYDNEY AIRPORT WELCOMES NEW MANTRA HOTEL

SYDNEY AIRPORT MANTRA HOTEL
The new Mantra Hotel at Sydney Airport was officially opened last week by the NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Adam Marshall.

The new development features 136 modern studio rooms and caters to business travellers looking for conveniently located accommodation close to the airport and terminals.

Minister Marshall congratulated the Mantra Group on the hotel opening.

“With record numbers flying into Sydney, new hotel openings such as the Mantra Hotel provide visitors to NSW with greater choices in accommodation location, style and price point. New hotels in key precincts play a critical role in promoting a vibrant visitor economy while meeting the needs of growing visitor numbers to Sydney, attracting first-time and returning domestic and international travellers."

Visit MantraHotels.com for bookings and further information.

Opening the 46th Meeting of ASEAN National Tourism Organisations

46th Meeting of ASEAN National Tourism Organisations
On 24 July 2017, the 46th Meeting of ASEAN National Tourism Organisations was officially launched in Flamingo Dai Lai Resort, Vinh Phuc Province, Viet Nam in the context of celebrating the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN (8 August 1967-2017).

The meeting had the participation of more than 100 delegates from ASEAN National Tourism Organisations (NTOs), ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN Tourism Association and media agencies.

On his opening speech, Chairman of Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), Mr. Nguyen Van Tuan stressed that ASEAN region is endowed with great potentials for tourism development and has achieved encouraging achievements in recent years. In 2016, the region recorded more than 113 million visitor arrivals, increasing by 7% compared to 2015. In particular, Viet Nam received over 10 million international arrivals in 2016, seeing an increase of 26% over the previous year. In the 6 first months of 2017, there were 6.2 million international arrivals to Viet Nam, reaching a remarkable rise of 30%.

However, ASEAN tourism has been facing with difficulties and challenges related to global climate change, policy barriers to tourism development. Therefore, in order to maintain the tourism growth, attract more arrivals, ASEAN NTOs should strengthen closer cooperation in tourism promotion, upgrading tourism service quality, tourism infrastructure investment as well as diversifying tourism products, Chairman Nguyen Van Tuan said. Also, ASEAN NTOs should closely collaborate with relevant agencies to resolve difficulties, facilitate visitors, further strengthen cooperation with dialogue partners including Japan, China, South Korea, Russia, India and other countries, international organisations to take advantages of their technical assistance and investment for rapid and sustainable development of ASEAN tourism.

As scheduled, the meetings of ASEAN and China, Japan, and ROK (ASEAN+3) NTOs; ASEAN-China NTOs; and ASEAN-India Tourism Working Group will take place on 26 July after the 46th Meeting of ASEAN National Tourism Organisations.

The meetings concentrate to issues set out in ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) 2016-2025 such as ASEAN Tourism Marketing Strategy 2017-2020; establishment of the Regional Secretariat for the implementation of MRA-TP; ASEAN tourism products; ASEAN Joint Declaration on cruise tourism; community and private sector participation.

*Thanh Tam

OUTDOOR EVENT DECK FEATURES AT THE SYDNEY INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW

Unique features of the new International Convention Centre, which opened to much fanfare only recently, are allowing Sydney International Boat Show organisers to really show off this world class venue.

One such feature is the Event Deck, which adjoins the Upper Level Exhibition Halls. The ICC boasts both upper and lower exhibition floors that will be fully utilised by the Boat Show.

The Event Deck is becoming a talking point for many, with the occupants of the city sky line having a bird’s eye view of activities. On arrival, the immediate impact will come from three oversized pools adorning the area.

Visitors can watch, learn and for those willing to brave the weather, try a kayak or stand up paddleboard (SUP). A host of demonstrations will run non-stop during the daylight hours of the show. Watch a SeaBob in action, learn all about SUP Yoga and fitness or you can even paddle to music. For those with young ones, have them try out a kids’ mini-bumper boat.

The Event Deck will include a huge display of sports racing boats for those with speed in their blood. Those looking for a more relaxed outlook should check out the Prawn & Oyster Bar or have a refreshing drink in the Garden Deck. Kids won’t miss out either, with a fun ice-cream parlour.

Toss in a little music from Bondi Beach Radio and there will be fun to be had by all.

Halls will open from 10am to 8pm, while the Marina will open from 10am up until 7pm. Tickets can be purchased online now, and if you buy online you will be entered into a draw to win a Hobie 10’5 Eclipse valued at $2,890. Visitors wanting more information or to buy tickets should visit the website www.sydneyboatshow.com.au