Thousands at fun day

The sweetest carnival in the South Pacific started with a bang as thousands of suckers for the saccharine gathered at the Meridian mall in Dunedin.

About 15,000 people took part in the Chocolate Fun Day at the mall on Saturday to mark the beginning of the Dunedin Cadbury Chocolate Carnival.

Cadbury World manager Kylie Ruwhiu-Karawana said attendance at the fun day was ''on par'' with last year's.

''It might be a little bit higher,'' she said.

She was pleased so many people helped mark the beginning of the 14th annual chocolate carnival.

''Dunedin has a very strong sense of ownership of it [the carnival],'' she said.

''We are wall-to-wall with people and have been since 10 o'clock this morning.''

The atmosphere at the event was energetic, which was unsurprising considering the free chocolate on offer.

''Everyone's high on sugar,'' she said, with a laugh.

Chocolate-lover Dylan Lilley (11), of Dunedin, was happy to join in the fun.

He hoped to win a tablet at the event, but was pleased to take home a block of chocolate instead because he liked it ''heaps''.

The best part of chocolate was ''that you can't stop eating it'', he said.

He liked the chocolate carnival and was looking forward to the Jaffa Race on Friday.

Mrs Ruwhiu-Karawana said the race was a highlight of the carnival and this year 75,000 Jaffas would roll and bounce their way down Baldwin St.

The Jaffa Race and Dunedin were a natural fit, she said.

''We have got the steepest street and a chocolate factory - you couldn't do it anywhere else,'' she said.

The carnival continues today with the Blue Light Disco, the Recyclia Trash to Art Competition and the Chocolate for Fairies Festival.


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