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Weather is fair enough in Marty

Although the year’s first instalment of the Martinborough Fair didn’t attract the peak crowd of 25,000 it’s attracted in the past, the 500 or so stallholders who set up in the Martinborough village shopping area on Saturday reportedly enjoyed brisk business.

The day got off to a slow start, but as it progressed, the number of attendees steadily picked up, with punters still arriving over the hill from Wellington at 11am, according to co-convener Vivienne O’Reilly, who speculated that the uncertain weather made many hold off committing until later.

“It was a really good, feel-good day,” O’Reilly told the Times-Age.

“In some ways, the smaller turnout than usual was really nice, because you could move around more freely without being jostled.” Food stalls seemed to be particularly popular, she said – for example, “a strawberry stall had long, long queues and was entirely sold out by around lunchtime, while another one that’s renowned for a roti style potato dish had queues all day; they were absolutely exhausted, but very happy, by the end” – while the hospitality businesses in the vicinity were heaving with customers.

The wind – which gusted up to 72kmh – was the only blemish on the day and forced some stalls to pack up early due to product breakages.

“The wind was a bit of a challenge for some stallholders – there’s only so much you can do to weigh down a gazebo,” O’Reilly said, and it wasn’t exactly ideal conditions for the children’s bubble-blowing activity, although “the face painting went really well”.

Fortunately, “there wasn’t a drop of rain until we began picking up, so someone was looking out for us.”

In the end, “People did really well, and there was a lot of money spent,” O’Reilly said, while the punters she spoke to were reportedly having a grand time.

“One guy I spoke to has been coming to the fair for 17 years, and he said this was one of the best yet. Others were saying they’re already looking forward to the fair in March.”

See page 6 for the
day in photos.

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