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Major sponsor gives support to Strawberry Fare


Media release, for immediate release, 10 November 2003

Major sponsor gives major support to Strawberry Fare

Meridian Energy is today announcing its new role as major sponsor of the Waimate Strawberry Fare. The three-year sponsorship commitment is a result of a partnership between Meridian Energy and the Waimate Strawberry Fare Committee.

The Waimate Strawberry Fare celebrates the Waimate District’s berry fruit industry, which was established in the 1880’s. In 1984 it was decided to hold a community event to celebrate the strawberry.

Since its beginnings, the day-long festival has grown from a 37-stall event to the biggest annual regional event. The festival now boasts 250 stalls, attracting a crowd of up to 10,000 people.

However that is as big as the festival could get with its current resources, according to Waimate District Council Promotions Officer Carolyn Johns.

“We came to the stage where we saw the Waimate Strawberry Fare needed a professional touch. We are delighted Meridian Energy has committed to be the event’s major sponsor as we see Meridian Energy as an organisation that can provide the professional services and additional resources the festival desperately needs,” says Carolyn Johns.

As part of the partnership, Meridian Energy is providing support in marketing the event. Carolyn Johns says they now hope to reach their goal of attracting a wider range of people from a wider range of areas to the event – an aim Waimate Mayor David Owen supports.

“By attracting more people to the Waimate Strawberry Fare we are building opportunities for businesses in the area to capitalise on the event. As well as attending the festival, many people also visit Waimate’s shops, stay in Waimate’s accommodation facilities and eat in our cafes and restaurants. The event is a great boost for the entire area,” says Mayor Owen.

Mayor Owen also says the Waimate Strawberry Fare is also a great way of promoting our part of the region.

“By promoting Strawberry Fare we are also promoting Waimate as a whole. The festival is one of our main Waimate showcase tourism events - it encourages people to visit Waimate and experience everything our area has to offer,” says Mayor Owen.

Meridian Energy is sponsoring the event as part of its community sponsorship activities.

Meridian Energy Community Relations Advisor Shelley O’Dwyer says they are delighted to have been chosen as the major sponsor of the Waimate Strawberry Fare event.

“The Waimate Strawberry Fare festival is a great event. We are excited about helping the event’s organisers market Strawberry Fare to a wider audience, attracting more people to sample the delights of the Waimate region, while maintaining the spirit of the event ” says Shelley O’Dwyer.

Shelley O’Dwyer says they realise Meridian Energy’s generation activities have an impact on the local communities.

“We recognise that we have a major role within communities and are committed to supporting their activities. We have run our community sponsorship programme in Waitaki and Southland for the last four years – since Meridian Energy’s first day of operation,” says Angela Day.

This year’s Meridian Energy Strawberry Fare - Waimate is being held on Saturday 13 December, in Waimate’s Seddon Square.

ENDS

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