Wild Foods Festival 'on notice'

02:30, Mar 09 2014
Hokitika Wild Foods Festival 2014
Binocular football was a new 'adult entertainment' stall at the Wildfoods Festival, which Christchurch friends, from left, Sam Hishon, 23, Michael Corrigan, 22, Jordan Hann, 20 and Sean Clark, 22, had a blast trying out.
Hokitika Wild Foods Festival 2014
Julie Neilson, of New Plymouth, turned up with 12 friends and family to celebrate her 40th birthday.
Hokitika Wild Foods Festival 2014
Joanne Horridge, a Greymouth district nurse, tried out a fried grasshopper on bread. Verdict? "It was crunchy."
Hokitika Wild Foods Festival 2014
Sarah Jackson, 21, of Christchurch, samples a live grasshopper for the first time.
Hokitika Wild Foods Festival 2014
Glen Dugan, 24, and Andy Heard, 27, agreed the scorpions, washed down with stallion semen, "were different".
Hokitika Wild Foods Festival 2014
Kent Beauchamp, of Oamaru, had to kneel at the confessional at the Holy Smoke Cafe.
Hokitika Wild Foods Festival 2014
A pride of lions has a rest.
Hokitika Wild Foods Festival 2014
Nelson-based wildfoods chef and cookbook author Daryl Crimp demonstrates how to cook pukeko.
Hokitika Wild Foods Festival 2014
Canterbury University students Hayley Turner, 20, and Peter Whyte, 20, try out the delicious treats at the Udderly Wild Desserts stall.
Hokitika Wild Foods Festival 2014
Paddy, from the Roddy Nugget Fishing Club, demonstrates how to sample a mountain oyster.
Hokitika Wild Foods Festival 2014
Christchurch friends Taylor Saville, 20, Sara Westwood, 18 and her older sister, Kim, 22, donned Sara's gory special effects makeup.
Hokitika Wild Foods Festival 2014
Annah Stretton's Hokitika shop manager Angie Kay, centre, enjoys the entertainment with the judges for the Feral Fashion at the Foods.
Hokitika Wild Foods Festival 2014
Jimmy Manson, of Oxford, centre, was one of several guys celebrating their stag parties at the Wildfoods Festival.

Yesterday's Wild Food Festival could be Hokitika's last, as the event struggles to pull in the crowds. 

Festival manager Mike Keenan told Radio New Zealand the event attracted about 8,500 people in 2013, down from almost 11,000 2012.

Attendance peaked in 2003 with 22,500 festival goers and ticket sales are now capped at 15,000.

The 25-year-old festival, which is owned by Westland District Council, made a $68,000 loss last year.

Keenan told Radio New Zealand if numbers didn't improve the event may no longer have a future.

"We're on notice now that if we don't perform we could be down Skid Row I dare say."

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He said the decision lies with council on whether to continue the event if there is another loss this year.

Keenan said ticket sales for yesterday's event were down, but was hoping to make up for it through gate sales.

He was rapt the weather was a stunner for the small township's biggest annual event and hoped yesterday's crowd proved large enough to ensure its ongoing future.

The festival's menu included stallion semen, crispy tarantulas and seagull eggs. 

The Press