Despite a destructive fire at its venue last week, the sixth Sarau Festival is on this holiday weekend as scheduled.
An enthusiastic group of volunteers is working hard to ensure there is as much fun to be had as usual, even though the fire at the Moutere Hills Community Centre meant a major revamp was needed.
"Hirequip have been fantastic donating a large marquee to ensure the cooking demonstration with award-winning chef Mark Mehalski from Jellyfish Cafe and Bar can still be held. They have also given extensive advice on generator requirements and enabled the festival to meet the power demands of the more than 170 stallholders," co-ordinator Jenny Leith said.
Mrs Leith said the Sarau Festival is unique on the Nelson calendar.
"The focus on the health-giving blackcurrant crop, grown locally, led us to think about what we would offer in a festival. This is a country fair with plenty of relaxed space, gentle activity and top quality entertainment, but more than that, we focus on celebrating the blackcurrant harvest.
"We have a blackcurrant cooking competition, the chef demonstrates cooking with blackcurrants, and our theme is very definitely purple! Alongside that there is a photography competition, a shearing demonstration, and excitingly this year for the first time, Chris Fortune will be on site with his ‘Kids Can Cook' facility, sponsored by Neudorf Dairy."
Each year one of the popular features of the Sarau Festival is the Sujon Mountain Bike race which crosses farmland, vineyards, hop and berry gardens in a route which local farmers open to the public only this one day a year.
"This was so popular that two years ago the festival organisers added a 12-kilometre option with the Gentle Cycle Company ride - with many of the same features but not the hills," Mrs Leith said. Riders who have not yet registered can do so on the day.
"In recovering from the fire the Sarau Festival volunteers have rallied round and set up a special fundraising marquee specifically to raise funds towards the rebuild. The public are asked to give generously and to assist MHCC in reaching their rebuild goal as soon as is possible." Mrs Leith said Tasman District Council had given the team at MHCC and the Sarau Festival great assistance as they work through the additional problems this week.
- Festival-goers are reminded the action starts at 3pm on Sunday, there is masses of onsite parking at no additional cost and the entry fee is just $5 per adult.
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