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Walkers and rockers get down and dirty


DSC 0620-821After the walking, as stimulating and invigorating as it might be, the Mangawhai Wine & Food Festival – held in conjunction with the Mangawhai Walking Weekend – is possibly the highlight of the weekend as wine and song helps relieve any muscular tension. And, for just a few hours, it gets everyone winding up before winding down for the evening.

Good music, a vast array of food, wines and beverages and warm late afternoon sunshine was the general recipe – until the rains came. A short shower early into the show was irksome though shrugged off but then the heavens opened. Many endured until it became obvious this was not just a passing shower. Gazebos became packed with bodies trying to stay dry and soaking bodies looking for shelter.

However tenacity won through. Undaunted, the crowd stayed, replenished with food and wine while our muso’s, deciding that safety had again been restored, set up in the back room of the chalet. The crowd, one of the largest ever, continued to rock their socks off, gradually drying out with the fervour of dancing, and turning a couple of low patches of ground into a mud puddle. Plenty seemed happy to feel the mud between their toes.

Organiser Trish Whyte can be excused some anxious moments when the rain appeared to set in for the night but, in 14 years of the walking weekend there has never been more than a whispy shower or two and weather is about the only thing one can rarely predict or plan suitably for with an outdoor event.

Full marks to musical duo Jessie and Georgie Matthews, Daughters of Ally, from Hamilton for working through the rain problem and giving punters just what they came for.

Full marks to the crowd who could have easily dispersed when the going got tough yet stayed to tough it out. Over 600 pre-paid tickets and more gate sales took the crowd to around 850.

Full marks to the organisers who accepted in good stead ‘what will be, will be.’

And full marks to Renee and her team from Whangarei who picked our venue for their hens party – and party they sure did.

A good time was had by all with not a sad face to be seen.

- Rob Pooley


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