It was the stuff of many kids' dreams: A fairground all to themselves and absolutely no queue at the waffle cart.
"It's a privilege to be the only people here. We can go on any rides we want," Jo Tooby of Nelson said.
She and her two children Freya Lawes, 4, and Harry Lawes, 3, were by late morning the only people at yesterday's Tahunanui Arts and Craft Fair. The event put on each year by the Nelson North Lions Club is usually a thriving, sun-baked affair attracting thousands, but this year luck was not on their side.
Club president Darren Quirk said earlier yesterday that they did not plan to cancel the event, because stall holders had booked and planned to be there. However, by late morning most of the stall holders had packed up and left.
Quirk said it was the first time in 12 years that rain had wrecked the fair. It even went ahead two years ago after Nelson's devastating rainstorm which brought down land and houses around the region, but dawned fine by New Year's Day.
"It wasn't a club decision to cancel it yesterday. We had 25 stalls there at one point but by 10.30am there was a very heavy shower which was enough to send most people home," Quirk said.
Damaris Franz and Melanie Kuschniruk remained steadfast until the last, selling waffles from their juice cart The Little Squeeze.
Nick and Sharlene Leach were wandering around searching for potential customers at their vegan food stall, Loving Hut.
"It's such a shame everyone has left," Franz said, shivering in the rain.
By that stage their few customers had included Freya and Harry, who enjoyed a fresh fruit icecream.
"I think the stallholders should have stuck together. Some people I understand had no choice - the jewellers, and the people selling nuts because they get wet."
Franz was grateful for Kuschniruk's help: "Otherwise I would cry."
Kuschniruk said she even went to bed early on New Year's Eve because she knew she had to get up at 5am yesterday to help.
Tooby said they were regulars at Tahunanui Beach and enjoyed supporting events put on for the community.
"There's always something happening at the beach. These guys go to a lot of effort to put something like this on. It's a great place to bring the kids," she said.
The Little Squeeze and Loving Hut will be back in action at the Nelson Market this Saturday.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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