Busy weekend in Oamaru

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Oamaru was a bustling hive of activity over the weekend with several large events being drawcards for those around the region and further afar.

Nearly 1000 people attended the annual Dixon Homes Oamaru Wine and Food Festival, hundreds crowded the waterfront to see the 10th anniversary of the Port FM Birdman Competition and a great turn-out watched the re-enactment of the first shipment of frozen meat during the Totara Estate Family picnic on Sunday.

Oamaru Wine and Food festival co-ordinator Matt Haywood said he was pleased to see such a large number of people, and some sunshine, come out to make the most of the event on Sunday.

“I think everyone’s enjoying themselves.

“It’s just great to see the crowds come and support this local event.”

The festival had nearly 40 stalls selling wine, food and beer, a number of cooking demonstrations and several local musicians for entertainment at the Oamaru Public Gardens.

Totara Estate property manager Anne Sutherland said the family picnic also drew a large crowd of people (although she did not know the numbers), who got involved in traditional games, country dancing and the re-enactment of the first shipment of meat 133 years ago to mark National Lamb Day.

“It’s been really nice. The sun has come out and it’s been beautiful.

“We had a really, really good turnout.”

The day was festive and enjoyable as well as being a great tribute to the past, she said.

The weekend has not just been about celebrating the past and enjoying local products, it has also been about supporting drought-affected farmers with The Thirst Quencher being held at the Kurow Hotel yesterday.

One of the organisers, Elizabeth Hayes, said the more than 250 people from around North Otago and South Canterbury attended the event, which included a barbecue, beer and music, being held to ease stress for farmers coping with the dry conditions.

Everyone really enjoyed themselves and it was a good way for people to talk about what they were going through with others in similar positions, she said.

With a drought having been declared last week it made the event more important, as it really acknowledged the difficult time, Mrs Hayes said.

The North Otago Horticultural Society also held its Summer Flower Show, Waitaki Road Safe Incorporated held its Cycle Skills Fun Day on Saturday and Sport Waitaki held its Slide, Ride and Stride, a mini triathlon for 2 to 6-year-olds, on Sunday.

By Ruby Harfield

PHOTO: CAROL EDWARDS – The 10th Port FM Birdman Competition was held on Sunday morning at the Oamaru Harbour. Youthtown entry Ellen McAtamney (15) and Tara Willans (15) fly to the water.