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Martinborough Fair: Round two

The village fair with the flair is back tomorrow for the second time this year, running from 8am to 4pm.

The Martinborough Fair, which is organised by South Wairarapa Rotary Club [SWRC], is one of the largest craft markets in the southern hemisphere, and typically attracts more than 25,000 attendees over its two annual instalments – the first of which was held on February 3.

SWRC member and fair co-convener Vivienne O’Reilly said the economic benefit because of the fair was “staggering” for the region.

“Martinborough shops and other Wairarapa retailers all benefit from the fairs.

“Hotels, motels, and camping grounds are mostly full, and many private homes overflow with out-of-town visitors.”

SWRC also donates the money raised from the fee for registering stalls to organisations including the Featherston Community Centre, Wairarapa schools, and food banks.

The event relies on the volunteered time and energy of about 50 Rotarians, who clock up more than 1300 hours, and are supported on the day of the fair by 16 Friends of Rotary, along with Innerwheel, the Lions, Kurinui College Hockey team, and the fire brigade.

“What we need is more help on the ground,” O’Reilly said.

“Most clubs are having trouble trying to get members.”

O’Reilly is currently working on future-proofing the event against the possibility of a decline in membership, which is currently static.

“There will be partnerships we might form if that time comes, but not for the foreseeable future,” O’Reilly said, noting that she’d “love” to see new volunteers put their hands up.

The fair was launched by SWRC – when it was the Greytown Rotary Club – with 35 stalls in 1977.

Now, visitors can browse more than 500 stalls that are set up around the village shopping area and sell a wide range of produce, food, and art.

Tomorrow’s fair also features a kid’s zone at the park in the Waihinga Centre, along with the Toy Library parents’ room – where babies can be changed and fed, and caregivers take a breather – and Knucklebone Coffee Bar nearby.

The weather is forecast to be partly cloudy, with isolated showers developing, fresh north westerlies, and a high of 26 degrees.

    More information about the event can be found at martinboroughfair.org.nz. To enquire about joining SWRC or Friends of Rotary, email Vivienne O’Reilly at [email protected]

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