Wild and weird come out to play on West Coast

19:23, Mar 09 2013
These American Indians visited from the Wild Foods Festival but really are from Ashburton and Christchurch.
These American Indians visited from the Wild Foods Festival but really are from Ashburton and Christchurch.
Shona Marshall from Hoki is one of only four people to know the secret whitebait recipe on the Soroptimist international/westland stall at the Hokitika Wild Food Festival.
Shona Marshall from Hoki is one of only four people to know the secret whitebait recipe on the Soroptimist international/westland stall at the Hokitika Wild Food Festival.
Left Kylie McNeilly. 23 and her sister rachel, 21. from Invercargill at the Hokitika Wildfood Festival
Left Kylie McNeilly. 23 and her sister rachel, 21. from Invercargill at the Hokitika Wildfood Festival
Fun and games at the Hokitika Wildfood Festival
Fun and games at the Hokitika Wildfood Festival
Fun and games at the Hokitika Wildfood Festival where the 'bums' were from Christchurch and Barbara was from Reefton.
Fun and games at the Hokitika Wildfood Festival where the 'bums' were from Christchurch and Barbara was from Reefton.
Sheep Chris Cowie from Dunedin getting a shot of moonshine from the Hoki rotary club at the Hokitika Wildfood festival.
Sheep Chris Cowie from Dunedin getting a shot of moonshine from the Hoki rotary club at the Hokitika Wildfood festival.
Fun at the Hokitika Wildfoods festival.
Fun at the Hokitika Wildfoods festival.
Fun at the Hokitika Wildfoods festival.
Fun at the Hokitika Wildfoods festival.
Food Cowboys trying barbequed mountain oysters trying at the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival.
Food Cowboys trying barbequed mountain oysters trying at the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival.
Anna Boyd, 29, from Lake Benmore getting up close and frendly with some sheep's testicles at the Hokitika Wildfoods festival.
Anna Boyd, 29, from Lake Benmore getting up close and frendly with some sheep's testicles at the Hokitika Wildfoods festival.
Fun at the Hokitika Wildfoods festival.
Fun at the Hokitika Wildfoods festival.
The team from Highly Flammable provided some of the entertainment at the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival.
The team from Highly Flammable provided some of the entertainment at the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival.
Fun at the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival.
Fun at the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival.
Festival regulars Angela and Graeme Calvert from Christchurch making their way to the booze tent at the Hokitika Wildfood Festival.
Festival regulars Angela and Graeme Calvert from Christchurch making their way to the booze tent at the Hokitika Wildfood Festival.
Fun at the Hokitika Wildfood Festival.
Fun at the Hokitika Wildfood Festival.
Fun at the Hokitika Wildfood Festival.
Fun at the Hokitika Wildfood Festival.
Tim Dawson from Auckland tucks into Mutton bird at the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival.
Tim Dawson from Auckland tucks into Mutton bird at the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival.
Callum Jones from Christchurch gets a birthday kiss at the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival.
Callum Jones from Christchurch gets a birthday kiss at the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival.
Local Hokitika lass Emily Garside, 6, was determined to try a live huhu grub for the first time, putting hardy lads to shame with her brave chomping. "It tastes a bit juicy," she said after casually biting a wriggling grub’s head off.
Local Hokitika lass Emily Garside, 6, was determined to try a live huhu grub for the first time, putting hardy lads to shame with her brave chomping. "It tastes a bit juicy," she said after casually biting a wriggling grub’s head off.

You could think you were in downtown Wellington for the sevens rugby tournament.

Over the years, more and more of those making the trek to Hokitika's Wildfoods Festival to chomp on the weird and wonderful in stunning sunshine have donned wild costumes to get into the vibe.

From topless "cops" with shorts padded in important places, to cowboys, duck shooters, cows, glamour queens, zombies and "elderly folk" with their Zimmer frames, to name but a few. The effort for those glammed up was worth it with $1000 handed over for the best dressed.

This year thousands from around New Zealand made the annual pilgrimage. Organisers put the figure at 12,000 who had attended yesterday's 24th festival, several thousand more than predicted.

The queue stretched two blocks to the tiny West Coast township's clock tower by early afternoon. Air New Zealand widened its reach with an extra flight from Wellington to Hokitika yesterday.

Many stallholders had great foodie stories to share. Christchurch couple Robert and Bev Dawson planned to sell muttonbirds at the festival in 2011 but ended up donating all their southern delicacies for the funerals of several people killed in the February 22 earthquake that year. They made it this year, their stall popular. "It's beautiful," exclaimed Aucklander Tim Dowson as he tasted some.

Soroptimist International's Westland branch had a secret whitebait pattie recipe for their stall.

Joy, a member who declined to reveal her full name, said local woman Pamela Fairmaid told her the recipe decades ago. She died about eight years ago and wrote the recipe for Joy in her will. "She made me swear that we wouldn't let it out."

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