Bluff Oyster Festival set for action

Bluff Oyster and Food Festival chairman John Edminstin above the new festival site.
JOHN HAWKINS/FAIRFAX NZ

Bluff Oyster and Food Festival chairman John Edminstin above the new festival site.

The finishing touches are being applied to the Bluff Oyster and Food Festival's new site as preparations for the iconic event enter their final fortnight.

The venue, which is largely undercover but includes an open courtyard, was mooted even before high winds disrupted last year's event and forced its cancellation in the early afternoon.

Bluff publicity and promotions officer Lindsay Beer said ticket sales were on par with previous years.

The festival committee expected a spike in sales over the coming days, he said.

"What tends to happen is the travellers buy quite early in the cycle and Southlanders rush in about now," Beer said.

"We've already noticed that since our paid advertising has kicked in, it's really started to accelerate, so we're confident we'll have another very big crowd."

READ MORE: Bluff Oyster Festival celebrates music

Beer said the festival committee had put in "a mammoth effort" to prepare the new site in time for the event.

Work on this 2015 festival had started not long after last year's wrapped up and the new official opening at the new site would be a significant milestone in the event's history, he said.

"I think the people will love it - it's just what the festival needs," Beer said.

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"It's fantastic not just for the festival but for Bluff, and there are so many opportunities on the site now that the oyster festival committee has done the hard yards."

Beer said all the traditional aspects of the festival would be on show, including oyster opening and eating competitions and musical entertainment.

There would not be as much innovation this year because the committee had been heavily focused on the new site, he said.

"All the tried and true things will be there though, and the Bluff oyster is the lure that everyone comes for - people just love it."

Gates open at the new site, on the corner of Lee and Barrow St, at 10.30am on Saturday, May 23.

Tickets - which are $25 for adults and $7 for children aged 12 and under - are available from www.ticketdirect.co.nz, the Invercargill City Council, Bluff Service Centre and Barnes Wild Bluff Oysters.

 - The Southland Times

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