Festival returns with a strong local focus

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After not being held last year, the Oamaru Wine and Food Festival is back and promising a fun-filled day on Sunday, February 16.

Festival coordinator Matt Haywood said the organisers were delighted to be back after scratching the event last year. The festival has been held for 15 years.

“I consider it a premium event for the district,” Mr Haywood said.

“There are plenty of them, but this is a great day out to showcase local products.”

Mr Haywood said in previous years they had brought headline acts to town to provide entertainment. This time, the emphasis is on being strictly local.

As part of this, local bands and singers will include the Bedfords, Vanessa Kelly, Spotless, Rock Bottom, The Pohas, Cold Kranking Amps and Shaun Todd.

Cooking demonstrations will be held by Steve Le Corre, tutor at Aoraki Polytechnic and captain of the New Zealand culinary team; followed by Pablo Tacchini, executive chef at Northstar; and Tanya Halcrow, a partner in Shared Plate.

“Kitchin ‘n Things from Timaru are bringing a fully-equipped kitchen,” Mr Haywood said.

Waitaki Valley wines will feature prominently – Birdlands, Pasquale and Ostler – and Mr Haywood said various Central Otago wines would also be represented among the 35 stalls.

Besides wine and food stalls, there will also be several beer stalls, among them Scott’s Brewery of Oamaru.

“It’s a great day out, with a fantastic location in the Oamaru Public Gardens; people can bring a picnic rug, sit down with groups of friends and just chill out.”

“We’re very grateful to the premier sponsors Dixon Homes and also the Oamaru Licensing Trust,” Mr Haywood said.

The Oamaru Wine and Food Festival starts at 11am on Sunday, February 16 and runs through to 6pm.

By CHRIS TOBIN