Fontys restored to its former glory
Picture: John Alford

When Jeremy Beissel and his wife Kelly bought Fonty's Pool in April 2012, they had big shoes to fill. They bought the stunning property from the Fontanini family, who'd owned it since Archie Fontanini bought the land in 1907. Now, the restored Manjimup landmark site, which originally opened to the public in 1925, is to host the Truffle Kerfuffle for the third year running.

"Previously we were fishermen from Leeman," Mr Beissel said.

"We went looking for a change for our two girls and found Fonty's by accident after seeing a for sale ad in _The West _.

"We loved it at first sight and could see the potential."

After their purchase, the Beissels restored the historic venue to include a cafe and wedding reception and function area, among newly planted trees, new camping facilities and two four-star chalets.

"We've tried to create a venue that can be great for both ends of the spectrum - a couple who just want to have a coffee and a quiet visit, right up to the Truffle Kerfuffle which may see thousands here," Mr Beissel said.

"It's a place where families can come and kids can play without too much restriction - they rediscover what living is about, meet other people from all over and wear themselves out."

The help and care of the Manjimup locals has been paramount to the restoration of Fonty's Pool.

"The locals got behind us - without them, we never would have been able to get the result we have," Mr Beissel said.

"They turned up with machines, workers, expertise and acts of generosity that very few places would be capable of.

"The Fontaninis themselves were extremely helpful and we're proud to be great friends with them today."

No one is happier to see Fonty's Pool restored to its former glory than those returning after many years - whether 20, 50, or in one case, 84.

"We have people turn up every day and say they swam here years ago," Mr Beissel said.

"It's fantastic that in another 80 years time the kids visiting today will be able to say they swam in 2014 - it makes it all worthwhile."

Mr Beissel said it's important they not underestimate the interest and enthusiasm for the Truffle Kerfuffle when hosting the highly anticipated event.

"The truffle is the greatest agricultural product as far as I'm concerned and our farmers were smart enough to turn Manjimup into a world-leading producer," he said.

"With the international significance of the black truffle and the fascination with it, we're on display to the world."

There will be a bigger marquee of stalls, food, wineries and produce and undercover bar.

"We've put a lot of planning into the venue for the event and we're confident it will stack up," Mr Beissel said. "With any luck, Kelly and I will be strolling around just enjoying the day."

The West Australian

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