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Mammoth Community Effort Brings Festival Alive

22 MAY 2008

Mammoth Community Effort Brings Festival To Fruition

Towards the end of last year the prospects of an Oyster Festival in Bluff appeared bleak. A change of direction was proposed for the event by the organising committee and part of that revamp meant an Invercargill based event.

In mid-December 2007 a public meeting was held in Bluff to discuss the situation and at the conclusion of that meeting a group of volunteers, determined to retain an Oyster Festival in the port town, left for their first committee meeting at a local hotel. That was just twenty-three weeks ago but on Saturday their efforts will be rewarded when the 2008 Bluff Oyster & Food Festival takes place in Bluff.

Local oysterman John Edminstin was elected Chairman of the new committee and in a very short time he and his team have created a Festival all of their own. Despite the Christmas break, by mid-January a new site in the Real Journeys Car Park facility in Foreshore Road had been secured and tickets were about to go on sale. Sub-committees were formed to bring together an entertainment programme plus the unique oyster events, the popular Creativity Awards and of course stalls featuring the iconic Bluff Oyster and a wide array of other food and beverage. While the Festival format was being finalised others were working at sourcing funding and sponsorship to allow it all to take place. Meanwhile
others were busy on the myriad of other tasks required to bring such a large event together.

Ann Gopi (nee Fincher), a Bluff resident for the first twenty years of her life but now living in the Central Southland town of Winton, watched the developments with interest. She was so pleased that the Festival was to remain in Bluff she forwarded a $10 donation to the new committee, giving the event it's first income!

Edminstin say's "the whole town has got right behind the Festival. The support has been good." That fact is reinforced when it becomes evident that even the children of the local school's have put a huge amount of effort into projects relating to the Festival.

The drive and vision of Edminstin and the sheer hard work of the committee mean that on Saturday 3,000 people from all over the country will descend on Bluff to enjoy more than 1500 dozen Bluff Oysters plus other great food offerings, an entertainment programme headed by Wellington band Fat Freddy's Drop (brought to Bluff by Ngai Tahu Seafood) and plenty of other unique features and old favourites as Bluff once again hosts it's biggest day of the year.


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