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How fearful is a Wildfoods feral factor contest?

January 2005

How fearful can a Wildfoods feral factor contest be?

For $1000, seven fearless gourmets will control their chucking-up instincts, hold their noses, close their eyes, open wide and down cow udders and pig snouts in double-quick time in the Feral Factor contest at the 16th Hokitika Wildfoods Festival in March this year.

“America has Fear Factor. The West Coast has Feral Factor – the ultimate fearsome eating contest,” said Festival organiser Mike Keenan.

The Feral Factor contest will be held on Friday night, March 11, in Weld Street, Hokitika, at the start of the Wildfoods Festival weekend.

This will be the second time the contest is run, following enthusiastic barracking of the contestants – limited to seven – at last year’s festival.

Seven items must be consumed with the slowest diners being discarded progressively through the contest till only the fastest are left to contest the swallowing of the final item of extreme wild food.

This year’s line-up of extreme wild food is: cow udder, wild goat testicles, pig snout, frog legs, offal (possibly liver), live snails in the shell, and kina.

Mr Keenan refuses to say which will be cooked and which will be raw.

“Let’s keep some surprises for the day. It’s more fun that way,” he said.

Last year a new immigrant to the West Coast, Martin Sherratt, aged 45, from England, celebrated his third week as a Hokitika resident by taking out the prize.

“He was accepted as a bona fide West Coaster from that moment on,” Mr Keenan said.

Everyone gets a challenge from the food at the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival and new and innovative items are dished up each year. This year’s offerings include 20 new foods like steamed beetles, pig pizzle sausages and colostrum butterballs alongside the quintessential Wildfoods Festival traditional fare of huhu bugs and worm sushi.

Ninety stallholders will ply the crowd with their gastronomic wares. Such is the competition for best offerings among the stallholders that a prize of a five-night holiday in Raratonga will be awarded to the best stallholder this year.

“Better, not bigger is our motto. The crowd at the festival, which has become a byword for excellence among food festivals, is limited to 19,000 participants, most of them pre-bookings, after we hit an all-time high of 22,500 two years ago,” Mr Keenan said.

Bookings are available on-line at http:// and at Postie Plus stores.


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