Spectator vintage a little older

Wine and Food Festival numbers down

Last updated 05:00 03/02/2014

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Attendance was down at the South Canterbury Wine and Food Festival this year.

The festival was back after a year's hiatus with key changes including a move from Saturday to Sunday, and an earlier finishing time than in previous years.

Organisers estimated between 2000 and 2500 people went through the gate at yesterday's event while proceeds, in aid of Hospice South Canterbury, are still being tallied up.

Co-organiser Karen McCrostie said this year's event had attracted an older crowd to the Botanical Gardens.

The festival previously featured national acts including Anika Moa, Elemeno P and the Black Seeds, but went for a local lineup this year.

The Soul Agency, Double Talk, Bex Murray and Kaylee Bell were among South Canterbury entertainers, with Wellington-based Diamond Divas being the out-of-towners.

Entry was restricted to one gate this year - two previously - with more focus on food, organisers said.

About 50 stallholders provided a range of cuisine, with new restaurants in town taking part.

Co-organiser Carol Angland said there had been more than 80 entries in the Aoraki Youth Art and Poetry competition while seven South Canterbury artists displayed their work.

Timaru Mayor Damon Odey and former councillor Jo Taylor, both in fancy dress, judged the gussy up and found themselves in the lineup of finalists due to a shortage of entrants.

Alan Munro, chief executive of Hospice South Canterbury, said he was pleased with the weather.

"The weather turned it on for us again and there was superb entertainment."

Ambulance staff reported three minor injuries and one person taken to hospital after a reaction to a bee sting. Police reported no arrests.

New rules were introduced at the 2011 festival to reduce drunkenness after two people were arrested and several had to be escorted from the venue in 2010 for disorderly behaviour.

Police and liquor licence inspectors recommended changes in the aftermath, banning patrons from carrying bottles around the venue.

The South Canterbury Wine and Food Festival has been a highlight of the summer calender for the past 14 years. For the first two years the festival was held at the Opihi Vineyards.

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- The Timaru Herald


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