Organisers, punters praise 13th edition of Havelock Mussel and Seafood Festival
The mussels were boiling and the marquees were up, but organisers were looking skywards.
Two years of poor weather have prevented the Havelock Mussel and Seafood Festival from turning a profit and the weather was, once again, the make or break for this Marlborough event on Saturday.
But thankfully, the rain staved off and allowed more than 2000 hungry punters to enjoy a day of seafood and relative sunshine.
Festival committee chairman Graeme Barsanti said he was happy with the turnout and festival-goers had created a fun atmosphere.
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"The weather was the biggest worry but it has held out," he said.
"The numbers are good and the people are really happy. There is a lot of enthusiasm."
The 13th year of the festival in Havelock, the greenshell mussel capital of the world, brought more of the same events which punters enjoyed in years gone by.
Mussel-shucking continued to be the big drawcard, as both individual and team events aimed to beat the clock and their competitors in opening the boiled molluscs.
Event organisers Marlborough Go replaced Marlborough 4 Fun for the first time in the event's history and aimed to provide a more streamlined festival.
The result was a great day for all, Barsanti said.
Only one person was ejected for intoxication, and fewer alcoholic venders made the festival a more family-friendly event, Barsanti said.
Motueka man Roger Kenning said the food selection was worth the trip alone.
"It's a great day out and the food is just awesome. It was nine years ago that I was last here and the food is definitely better," he said.
"We're just after a beer in the sun, so it's perfect."
Havelock woman Megan Stew was attending the festival for the fifth time, but noted the event had considerably quietened down.
There were a lot of events for the kids but the festival was not as well-attended as it had been, she said.
"This used to be my festival of the year and now it kind of has lost that festival vibe," she said.
"I do hope it picks up because it is bloody good for Havelock."
- The Marlborough Express