Town meets country at old-time craft fair

ALASTAIR PAULIN
Last updated 13:00 13/01/2014
Sherry and Warwick Bishop
ALASTAIR PAULIN/FAIRFAX NZ
THAT'S COUNTRY: Donna Frame, left, Sue Smith and Claire Howison, three Christchurch friends who were staying at Mapua,  found their way to the Pokororo Craft Fair.

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Blueberries, woodwork, garlic braids and slide guitars made out of old hubcaps were all popular items at the 38th annual Pokororo Craft Fair but the star attraction was the stunning Motueka Valley location.

Held at a picturesque domain in the heart of the valley yesterday, the fair drew holidaymakers from all over the region.

Christchurch woman Donna Frame has been holidaying in Mapua for the past 10 years and said that every year she would see the sign for the Pokororo Craft Fair and wonder where on Earth Pokororo was. This year she decided to find out and brought her friends Sue Smith and Claire Howison with her. The three women loved the fair.

"It's really quaint, like an old country fair. It's gorgeous," said Smith.

Melissa Edge from London was staying with in-laws in Stephens Bay and brought her young children after she saw signs for the fair and Jane Jelley, an English woman who has summered in Nelson for the past 24 years, was snapping up plump blueberries grown just across the river from the fair and enjoying the country atmosphere.

"Look at this scenery. It's a bit of old New Zealand, isn't it?" she said.

Blueberry grower Jude Heath said the summer rain had created perfect growing conditions for blueberries.

"It's been swelling them up and we've been doing as many markets as possible to sell them fresh."

This year she has started producing a blueberry concentrate using leftover berries and said she could not produce enough to keep up with demand.

"People are drizzling it over icecream or mixing it with vodka and soda or just soda for a refreshing drink," she said.

John Dixon attracted a throng of intrigued listeners as he demonstrated his three-string slide guitars he makes out of either old hubcaps or cigar boxes.

A fan of blues music, he said he had been inspired by a Louisiana musician he saw online who was making slide guitars out of shot guns, double-headed axes and old petrol cans. The Pokororo Craft Fair was only the second market where he had sold his guitars.

English tourist Keith Panting bought one that featured Holden and Vauxhall hubcaps. A bass player in a band, he was looking forward to learning how to play slide guitar and hoped the guitar would ship safely home.

Fair organiser Robert Brooks was thrilled the forecast rain stayed away and said the fair featured 75 stalls. The fair raises funds to help maintain the Pokororo Hall. The Pokororo Women's Club served tea and scones to fundraise for a defibrillator for the valley.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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