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Festival a winner

Last updated 08:43 28/02/2013
Orchard Fest

MINGLING: Sandy Mecredy, Joan Irissarri and Kristin Farrand of Kerikeri enjoy this year’s Ocean and Orchard Wine and Food Festival.

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More than 2000 people came to eat, drink, be merry and listen to good music at Saturday's Ocean and Orchard Wine and Food Festival at the weekend.

This year's event drew visitors from Auckland and further afield and made its mark on the foodie calendar.

"Many return visitors included a group from Nelson who came last year and enjoyed it so much they came back this year," co-organiser Judy Hyland says.

Attendance was almost double last year's estimated 1200 and well above the 800 who came in 2011.

"We are sure the festival will grow each year," Judy says.

Business owners report a busier Saturday and Sunday than last year after an influx of visitors, a pleasing result for the Kerikeri District Business Association that backed the event.

"This is what the festival was designed to do and it is beginning to achieve that goal," Judy says.

Crowd favourites the Bay Windjammers, who have been playing together for 30 years, kicked off the live music.

Guest artist, well-known trumpet player Edwina Thorne, played alongside the Hewson Project while Haylee Nichola and the Frettz and Furious3 had the crowd dancing from 3pm.

It was a day for all ages with children's activities and young kids dancing alongside senior citizens.

The Orangewood Mastercook Competition was won by Jenni Hammond of The Village Cafe.

Her rivals, Israe Paraone from Intent Design Art and Alexa Bell of Flourflower, were strong contenders.

The Keoghans Showcase Wearable Arts winner was Sandy Hamilton of Flourflower.

Tony Harrison and his team earned praise for their management of stage and sound.

The oyster eating champion was Shane Millerchen.

Andrew Comer won the lemon sucking title for the third year running.

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