Bluff oyster festival goes off despite freezing temperatures

Renee Nyhon, originally of Bluff, about to devour an oyster and the Bluff Oyster and Food Festival
CHE BAKER/FAIRFAX NZ

Renee Nyhon, originally of Bluff, about to devour an oyster and the Bluff Oyster and Food Festival

A severe weather warning did not deter thousands of people from getting their Bluff oyster fix.

The annual Bluff Oyster and Food Festival kicked off on Saturday morning, with 4500 people expected to attend the sold-out event.

Up to 30,000 oysters were brought in to be consumed by the crowd, and shuckers worked overtime to get the delicacy ready for the masses.

Diane, Don, Mike and Vicky Holloway, all of Hamilton, enjoy a seafood feast.
CHE BAKER/FAIRFAX NZ

Diane, Don, Mike and Vicky Holloway, all of Hamilton, enjoy a seafood feast.

While wild weather has beaten the south, it remained sunny in Bluff as the festival kicked off on Saturday morning.

The weather was predicted to turn sour toward the end of the event.

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Shuckers at the Bluff Oyster festival.
CHE BAKER/FAIRFAX NZ

Shuckers at the Bluff Oyster festival.

MetService meteorologist Lisa Murray said rain showers, hail, sleet, snow and thunderstorms were all possible for Invercargill and Bluff, with wind gusts of up to 120km/h and some showers to throughout the day.

The snow could be expected down to about 200m, or even lower, Murray said.

NZ Transport Agency is asking motorists to take extra care on all South Island roads today with wintry weather forecast.

Festival chairman John Edminston said volunteers had battled rough weather ahead of the event.

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"But we're very pleased with today's weather and we hope it holds off until 5:30pm."

It was 4 degrees celsius as the event kicked off; a high of 7 was predicted.

"There were a lot of smiles on people's faces and the beanie sales have increased," said Edminston.

Renee Nyhon, 24, from Invercargill said she was stoked the sun was shining.

"There's no sign of snow yet – but we're wrapped up warm.

"I've been to this event six times and I can't wait to have my next oyster."

 - Stuff

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