Culverden Christmas Country Fete 2015

Four women had originally brought the idea back with them from a trip to London. At first it was just a few stalls set in the middle of someone’s garden, and family and friends were invited to an afternoon’s country entertainment. Nearly a quarter-of-a-century later the event is still family run, partly by two daughters of the original entrepreneurs. The difference is that it now comprises around 200 stalls and last year attracted 6000 visitors on the one day it is held. Blaise Davison is at the forefront of the organising. It’s a full-time job. “We have about 400 stall applicants each year,” she told me. “And from these we choose half. They stretch from the bottom of the South Island to the tip of the North and now from parts of Australia, and so there is a wide variety and range of products.” The event is a showcase of some of the best Australasian artefacts, apparel, food, wine and produce. This year there will be cooking demonstrations and a hangar erected to display photographs, pottery, garden sculpture and country-inspired, water-colour paintings. Livening up the show are performers and bands from around New Zealand. Booths sell gourmet, take-away food and traditional country fare. There’s a Pimms tent, a port stall and plenty of tipple from local wine cellars. This great day out is a lively, social affair. Punters go there, no doubt to buy, but also to browse, picnic, sample, gossip, and lounge on the grass to listen to music. Three days later the stalls and tents have gone. Cows and sheep take up residence and the venue is once more a paddock in the middle of nowhere, until next year. The 2015 Fete is on the 29 October. Jill Malcolm is a former editor of Motorhomes Caravans & Destinations and author of the Great Kiwi Motorhome Guide.
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