The stream train on daffodil day in Carterton last year. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

ELISA VORSTER
elisa.vorster@age.co.nz

The annual Carterton Daffodil Festival returns tomorrow as part of a jam-packed weekend filled with family fun events.

The festival has been a big drawcard for the town, bringing thousands of visitors each year from Wellington and Manawatu.

The weekend’s events kicked off on Thursday night with an evening gala for the Big Wai Art Sale at the Carterton Events Centre.

The sale will continue throughout the weekend and features around 1500 works of art, ranging from paintings and photography to sculptures and jewellery, from both Wairarapa artists and visitors.

Organiser Robyn Cherry-Campbell said the sale would host the largest number of artists to date, with more than 140 display panels.

Today’s forecast winds will be welcomed at the inaugural Carterton Kite Festival, which begins at 4pm at Carrington Park.

People are invited to fly their kites, either store-bought or homemade, in an event that will run alongside the return of the Asia and Friends Night Market.

This will once again host ethnic food stalls such as Grill Republic and Mao & Co, and features live music acts Sarah Dill and Jonas Koukl.

Organiser Hayden Mischefski said he hoped the kite festival would become an annual spring event. He hopes to expand it in future years to include demonstrations and kite-making workshops.

The Dollar Plus store in Carterton is offering a variety of kites ahead of the event, and the Met Shop stall will have kites for sale on the night.

The weekend will end with the renowned Daffodil Festival and the return of the Daffodil Express steam train tomorrow.

The train offers a return trip from Wellington to Carterton, and Carterton to Masterton.

Those who want to hop on at Carterton, for the trip to Masterton, will need to be at the station at 10.25am, with advance tickets available for $20 each at Take Note High St and Kuripuni Bookstore on Queen St.

There will also be daffodil picking for $4 a bunch at the historic Middlerun Farm in Gladstone.

Cars will not be permitted on the farm, but free, continuous buses will run from Masson St, from 9.45am.

There will also be horse-drawn surrey rides from outside Carterton Memorial Club on Broadway, as well as several hundred market stalls on Broadway, High St, Holloway St and Memorial Square.