Busy weekend in Oamaru

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Hundreds of people are expected to flock to North Otago for an incredibly busy weekend with at least seven events being held.

The events include the annual Dixon Homes Wine and Food Festival, the 10th anniversary of the Port FM Birdman competition, the Totara Estate Family Picnic and the Thirst Quencher, an event being held for struggling farmers.

Oamaru Wine and Food Festival co-ordinator Mark Haywood said they hoped to get a good crowd of people to support the stallholders and entertainers at the event, which is being held at the Oamaru Public Gardens on Sunday.

They were trying to keep it fairly similar to last year with a strong focus on local food, wine and music, he said.

“We want to make it more of a relaxed day out.

“It’s really got all the elements.

“It’s well worth coming to.”

The annual festival will have nearly 40 stalls of wine, food and beer, from around North Otago and neighbouring districts, a number of cooking demonstrations and several local musicians for entertainment.

At the same time, the Port FM 10th annual Birdman will be held at the Oamaru Harbour with hundreds of spectators expected to come along.

Port FM marketing manager Sue Fraser said because the event, which sees people dressed in whacky costumes jump into the water, will be marking its 10th milestone.

They would be giving away 10 spot prizes as well as their usual “Best Dressed”, “Biggest Splash”, “Biggest Distance” and “Ultimate Birdman” awards.

Money raised on the day through donations and advertising would go towards the North Otago Search and Rescue Marine Unit, she said.

On Sunday afternoon, in an effort to help farmers struggling with dry conditions, The Thirst Quencher will be held at the Kurow Hotel.

One of the organisers, Elizabeth Hayes, said they wanted to have an event where people could leave their worries at the door but also talk to others going through the same thing in a relaxed environment.

She has been overwhelmed by the amount of support they have received for The Thirst Quencher, which will involve a barbecue, drink, music and informal rain dance for farmers and their families.

If they had enough interest they would be offering a bus from Oamaru to Kurow (see The Thirst Quencher on Facebook for more information).

The North Otago Horticultural Society will also be holding its summer flower show on Saturday and Sunday and Waitaki Road Safe Incorporated will be holding their annual Cycle Skills Fun Day on Saturday. Totara Estate will be holding its country picnic and Sport Waitaki will be holding the Slide, Ride and Stride, a mini triathlon for two to six-year-olds on Sunday.

By Ruby Harfield