Fun for all ages at sunny Sarau festival

00:41, Feb 04 2014
sarau festival
COOLING OFF: Sara Clelland and daughter Chloe Taylor, 20 months, enjoy icecream at the Sarau Festival.
sarau festival
RELAXING DAY: Part of the big crowd at the Sarau Festival yesterday.
sarau festival
WELL SHADED: Pat Kennedy and Jane Wells, of Upper Moutere, came prepared for a sunny day.
sarau festival
CREATURE COMFORT: Annabel Lowe, of Upper Moutere, busks with ‘‘Boris’’ at the Sarau Festival
sarau festival
CHEERS: Terry Byrne, left, and Helen Byrne, of Richmond, with friends Reiner Kuske and Claudia Kuske, of Upper Moutere.
sarau festival
NEAT FEET: Arun Arora and Girisha Arora, of Nelson, were selling hand-made Indian leather shoes.

A beautiful Moutere day welcomed a record crowd to the Sarau Festival, which filled the grounds of the Moutere Hills Community Centre from mid-afternoon yesterday.

Organiser Jenny Leith said it was hard to put a figure on the attendance because there were so many children, who had free entry, "but I think around 4500 to 5000".

Initially created around the Moutere area's annual blackcurrant festival, and as a fundraiser for the community centre, the festival now offers cycling tours, cooking demonstrations, entertainment, food, stalls, and loads of space to sit in the afternoon sun, enjoy a wine or beer and relax.

Mrs Leith said a big mix of people attended the festival this year, with a lot of families and, at the other end of the spectrum, a large number of senior citizens, who made the most of the supplied shady seats to enjoy the famous Sarau Cream Teas.

"We sold a phenomenal number of cups of tea."

A highlight for her was the "amazing" team of volunteers who made the festival happen. People from as far away as Tadmor and Richmond gave up their anniversary weekend to set up, run and clean up after the festival each year, she said.

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"Everyone is responsible for their own areas, and we only have two meetings a year."

Funds raised by the festival, which had yet to be tallied, would be split between the community centre and various Moutere sports clubs, with particular emphasis on those that supported children, Mrs Leith said.

Festival proceeds also fund the Sarau Scholarship, which is awarded to leading Moutere young people and is announced around late March.

Mrs Leith said work on rebuilding the community centre, which was twice damaged by fire last year, was almost complete.

The function room, meeting rooms and commercial kitchen were complete, and work on relaying the gymnasium floor would start this week.

A community-funded fitness centre, which would be built on the southern side of the main centre, was the next project, she said.

Nelson