Picton festival all set to rock

SVEN HERSELMAN
Last updated 13:29 16/01/2013
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DOC'S Torea Blasters with Picton reporter Tania Butterfield positioned front right.

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The Picton foreshore is the place to be this Saturday with the eighth annual Picton Maritime Festival running from 11am till 11.30pm.

The event promises entertainment for all ages, with families being the main focus. A huge lineup of activities, entertainers and spectacles has been arranged, with only the weather needing to come on board to make the day perfect.

Take a trip on the good ship Steadfast, enter the raft race or pick up some cooking tips at the New Zealand King Salmon cooking demonstration. If these don't take your fancy then you can just relax on the beautiful foreshore and enjoy the entertainment or browse the craft stalls.

There will also be a fire brigade display and clinker boat display as well as performances by the Queen Charlotte College Kapa Haka group and Star Dance Academy to name a few. Other entertainment will come from street performers, jugglers and fire dancers, with a stage set up on the foreshore featuring almost non-stop entertainment.

"Last year we really upped the ante as far as entertainment goes and we are carrying that on this year," said event organiser Beryl Bowers. "The festival has grown each year and we are looking forward to another really good one this year. Everything is in place so all we need is the weather to come through for us."

Children will be well catered for with two bouncy castles, the Pirate Island kids zone run by Conservation Kids and a host of performers. Headlining the kids entertainers will be The Funky Monkeys from Hamilton and children's entertainer Levity Beet.

"There will be loads for the kids to do throughout the day," said event organiser Pauline Gregory, who is responsible for the children's entertainment. "This is a real family event and we do our best to cater for all ages."

The festivities will carry on into the night with a fireworks display at 10pm, followed by fire dancers from the Jugglers Rest Fire Performance Crew. Also performing will be highly popular Wellington cover band Johnny and the Dreamboats. Food and drink will be on sale throughout the day, with many Marlborough volunteer and charity groups and organisations using the event for fundraising.

Beryl started the festival in 2006 after the number of summer events and festivals in Picton began to dwindle. "I just wanted to create something to highlight what a great place Picton is and show just how lucky we are to have this beautiful foreshore area."

The festival had humble beginnings but soon grew as more people got on board. Pauline joined in the second year and now a committee of eight, backed by some 20 helpers, spend the better part of the year putting the festival together.

"Everyone who is involved volunteers their time in between having regular day jobs or running businesses, but I have to admit that in the weeks running up to the festival our jobs get pushed aside quite a bit," said Beryl. "If anyone wants to get involved we are always looking for new helpers."

The event is sponsored by Bluebridge and Interislander and supported by Pub Charity. Last year about 6000 people visited the festival throughout the day, making the 11 months of preparation all worth the effort.

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Entry is free.

- The Marlborough Express

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