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Fear Factor interested in the Wildfoods Festival

Fear Factor interested in the Wildfoods Festival

The Fear Factor television programme wants to try out some of the unusual collection of challenging food offered at the annual Wildfoods Festival in Hokitika on March 8.

Fear Factor’s Los Angeles producer Rich Brown has written to the Wildfoods organisers saying they are looking for new ``gross and disgusting’’ new delicacies for their next series.

Mr Brown said he was fascinated to hear about the Wildfoods Festival.

``We're always searching for new delicacies from around the world and thought you might be able to provide some food leads that would send our American contestants running. ‘’

Wildfoods organiser Mike Keenan said he had written back to Brown telling him about all the unusual foods on offer on March 8 including bulls’ penises, sheep’s eyes, pig offal, scorpions, worms, seagull eggs, horse meat, rams' balls grasshoppers, spagnum moss, snails, bulls' testicles, slugs and ponga frongs.

``We have invited any of their Fear Factor people to come to our festival and we’ve also told them all the great things we have here,’’ Mr Keenan said.

Meanwhile, preparations for the 14th annual festival are in full swing. Locals will be building a giant HOKITIKA sign on the beach made from driftwood which will be visible by passengers on international flights.

``Hokitika is on the Christchurch to Sydney flightpath and the sign will stand out like a hole in the snow,’’ Mr Keenan said.

No other festival in New Zealand gets near the big South Island West Coast event in terms of variety of wild and unusual food. About 20,000 people attended last year and a similar crowd is expected in March.

Some of the country’s top young chefs will be cooking off for the New Zealand wildfoods chef's title. The chefs are required to produce a mouth-watering two-course meal within an hour. Just 1800 people attended the first festival in 1990 compared to 20,663 at the last event.

The festival is the annual showcase of the West Coast’s traditional pioneering lifestyle and is regarded one of the finest events in the country.

It has featured in media all around the world and provides an opportunity for people to try strange food they are unlikely to see on an average restaurant menu.

This year’s event will be of major interest following the Fear Factor tv show which has seen contestants struggling to stomach some daring food.

The 90 stalls will feature some of the most daring delights imaginable including farm-bred scorpions from the United States. The festival generates more than $2 million for the Hokitika community.

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