Garden festival kicks off season

KAT PICKFORD
Last updated 11:30 08/11/2012
Julia Brown
Emma Allen

Petal power: Hunter’s Garden Marlborough organisers Julia Brown and Lizzie Lichtnecker take a break among the blossoms

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Marlborough heads into its summer season of events and festivals this weekend as Hunter's Garden Marlborough and the A&P show start the annual influx of visitors.

The annual four-day spring garden festival is in its 19th year and attracts garden enthusiasts from throughout the country, including some overseas visitors, to enjoy the region's warm climate and a programme bursting with blooms.

Hunters Garden Marlborough marketing and sponsorship manager Julia Brown said more than 1800 tickets had been sold to about 1200 people, and more than half those people are coming from out of the region.

A survey of 100 people at last year's event had shown most people who came from out of town stayed at least three nights, she said.

"It's a big event, and we like to try and offer something different every year to attract a wide range of people and keep things interesting."

Destination Marlborough general manager Tracy Johnston said events were an effective hook to attract visitors to the region, because people would use it as a base to lengthen their stay and experience the region's other attractions.

"They create a sense of energy and vibrancy in town and give a sense that Marlborough's a happening place and somewhere people will come back to."

The garden festival wraps up on Sunday with a fete on Seymour Square.

Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman said the region was ideal for hosting events such as the garden festival because it was so central.

Businesses, especially hotels, restaurants and retail stores, all benefited from the cash injection from visitors but the economic gains flowed out to the whole region, Mr Sowman said.

The annual A&P Show starts at the showgrounds tomorrow, including entertainment tomorrow night, and includes a grand parade on Saturday afternoon.

Hunter's Garden Marlborough runs from today until Sunday. Limited tickets are still available online at gardenmarlborough.com or by calling the office on 03 577 5500.


THE BIG EVENTS

Hunter's Garden Marlborough: From today until Sunday.

Marlborough A&P Show: Tomorrow and Saturday.

New World Marlborough Marathon: December 1.

Picton Maritime Festival: January 9.

Blues Brews and BBQs: February 2.

Marlborough Wine and Food Festival: February 9.

Classic Hits Winery Tour: February 24.

Havelock Mussel Festival: March 16.

Classic Fighters air show: March 29-31.

Forrest Grape Ride: April 6.

Saint Clair Family Estate Vineyard Half Marathon: May 11. 

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- The Marlborough Express

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