Huge turnout for Sarau Festival

Organisers of the Sarau Festival have been overwhelmed by the support from the community with a big crowd attending Sunday’s annual event to help raise funds for the fire-damaged Moutere Hills Community Centre.

The annual festival was moved outdoors to the playing fields at Moutere Domain after last month’s fire destroyed part of the community centre. But that didn’t stop the festival being a big success with organiser Jenny Leith estimating it attracted 5000 people.

‘‘It’s absolutely stunning. Everyone has worked really hard and we have managed to pull everything together really well.’’

‘‘We had really good support from our volunteers and the business community. And so many people have come out to enjoy the festival.’’

Mrs Leith said volunteers and businesses had rallied around the event after the fire with HireQuip donating a giant marquee to substitute the indoor venue. CRT and Tasman Crop covered the costs of transporting and erecting the marquee while NBS donated $3000 to help pay for generators for the 160 stalls and porta-loos.

Volunteers had also organised a raffle and silent auction in record time to help raise funds to repair the centre. Mrs Leith said the two fund-raisers were well supported by people at the festival.

One of the most popular events was the cooking demonstration by award-winning chef Mark Mehalski from Jellyfish Cafe and Bar. There was also a demonstration for the younger chefs by Kids Can Cook star Chris Fortune.

Mrs Leith said she would not know how much the festival raised until later in the week.