Beefed-up security has festival flowing smoothly
The 21st edition of Toast Martinborough has been hailed as a success by police, organisers and punters, despite a higher number of arrests and one festival-goer being hit by a bus.
About 10,000 people descended on Wairarapa for the annual wine and food festival yesterday, with eight people having their day out cut short for disorderly behaviour or minor assaults - compared to just one last year.
Police attributed that to a "saturation" of officers on the ground and a beefed-up security presence, which meant some people were removed before they could start trouble. A woman in her 20s also suffered serious head injuries when she was hit by a bus near Palliser Estate at 7pm.
But on the whole, the people who were there said they enjoyed themselves once the morning rain cleared.
Punters shrugged off early strong winds and torrential rain to quickly get into the groove at the 10 vineyards participating in this year's event.
A roaring trade was done in both food and wine, with dancing the order of the day at several of the venues.
Noticeable among those hitting the dance floor was San Francisco expat Dave Allen, who dominated the front of the stage area at Ata Rangi vineyard.
Dressed in army fatigues and sporting camouflage face paint, Mr Allen went as a Vietnam-era soldier "for the hell of it".
"It's about expressing yourself and being different," he said.
A second-time "Toaster", he was there with friend Gabriel Ribeiro, a Rio de Janeiro native, who was enjoying his fourth event.
"It's the vibe of the thing and the friendships, it's a great fun day," Mr Ribeiro said.
Whitby man Jim Neighbour, who has been to every event along with wife Janice, said they had had a fantastic day with their two sons.
The couple's highlight was when chef and caterer Ruth Pretty and Ata Rangi founder Clive Paton stopped by for a surprise visit.
"They had heard about how we had been to all [all 21 Toasts] and came over and we had a little chat to them - that made our day."
Mrs Pretty then signed a copy of one of her cookbooks and presented it to them.
The day had got off to a less than ideal start when the second of three packed trains from Wellington broke down at Waterloo Station in the Hutt Valley.
The breakdown caused a delay of up to 30 minutes for it and a following train.
A mid-morning downpour then kept many punters inside at pubs near The Square, before the clouds cleared around midday.
The Dominion Post