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West Coast Revels In Wildfoods Festival

Immediate Release

10 March 2002

West Coast Revels In Wildfoods Festival

Toilet paper producing companies would have done a roaring trade at last weekend’s Hokitika’ Wildfoods festival, according to Festival organiser Mike Keenan.

“This year we had more wild and wonderful food stalls than ever but it can take its toll on the tummy,” Keenan said yesterday after an estimated record crowd of more than 20,000 attended the popular annual event.

Service stations were sold out of loo paper and one out-of-towner visiting a garage at 6am on Sunday morning was advised by attendants that, “they should have used both sides”.

But there was plenty of bush remedies to take care of delicate constitutions such as the Billy Tea totallers stall offering the sobering effect of manuka flavoured tea and belly dancers showed festival goers how to shake the gourmet bush tucker up lat the all day concert.

Sacred Monteith’s beer flowed like mother’s milk and the punters queued to drink firewater shot into the mouth via a drench gun. People came from all over New Zealand and there was a big presence from the UK.

Two students from Colorado, Dylan Downes and Jake Martin said they’d read about the festival in the St Barbara Times. CBS (America) and Channel 10 from Australia filmed the weird and wonderful event and festival goers dressed up in eccentric costumes. A group of tilers dressed as nuns and danced up a storm at the Monteiths tent, girls Whitebait was still the most popular delicacy of the day and two stalls sold over 130 kg.

Full of Sh**, won best stall of the day with cow pats, selling like hot cakes and rabbit and sheep poo hot favourites as well.

But the big winner on the day was the people of Hokitika who all got a share of the cake from the schools who put up the tents to the shop keepers who dressed their windows and stayed open 24 hours to cope with the town swelling from 3000 to more than 20,000.

With an estimated seventy per cent of people coming from outside the West Coast, Keenan said money spent in the region over the three days would be in excess of 1.2 million in direct takings at the festival and in excess of an additional four million in terms of “foreign currency” spent in the “West Coast Republic”.


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