Carnival chock-a-block with records

Cadbury World events manager Kylie Ruwhiu-Karawana (right) and events team member Deborah Stuut...
Cadbury World events manager Kylie Ruwhiu-Karawana (right) and events team member Deborah Stuut celebrate another successful Dunedin Cadbury Chocolate Carnival, outside the Cadbury factory in Cumberland St yesterday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
A record-breaking Dunedin Cadbury Chocolate Carnival is being celebrated by organisers.

More than 50,000 people attended the carnival's 68 events held in and around Dunedin last week.

Cadbury World events manager Kylie Ruwhiu-Karawana said all the ticketed events sold out and there were record numbers recorded at all others.

''We are starting to see all the numbers coming through and its growth on last year, which is fantastic.''

About 47,000 people attended the 53 carnival events in 2012.

''I don't know if it's because of the fantastic weather we've had, but the feedback from everyone is that more people attended each event, and some things like the magic show attracted twice as many people as last year.''

Mrs Ruwhiu-Karawana estimated the crowd at Friday's Jaffa Race was larger than the initial count of 12,000.

''I think it's probably closer to 15,000. Last year, we recorded 14,000 and there were definitely more people this year.''

Live entertainment between the two Jaffa races meant more people stayed for the second run, Mrs Ruwhiu-Karawana said.

A focus on making chocolate more accessible and ''tangible'' at this year's carnival seemed to have paid off, she said.

Each day, more than 2000 people took part in carnival activities at the Meridian mall, which featured a chocolate fountain, and Cadbury supplied more chocolate than ever to Dunedin businesses and organisations for the week's festivities.

Cadbury fundraised for 13 charities through its carnival events, and money was still being collected.

Usually, about 75% of people attending carnival events were Otago residents, but the ratio was changing each year as the festival became better known internationally, she said.

Australian visitors, in particular, were increasing in number, and an Indian couple travelled to Dunedin for this year's carnival to celebrate their honeymoon, she said.

The last economic impact report on the carnival done in 2011 found it directly generated about $2 million for the city.

The event's contribution to the economy was growing, and once a debriefing was completed, staff would start planning next year's festivities, Mrs Ruwhiu-Karawana said.

Tourism Dunedin chief executive Hamish Saxton said the Cadbury carnival was one of Dunedin's hottest annual attractions and enticed people to Dunedin from throughout New Zealand and Australia.

''With Cadbury being such a well-known brand internationally, and with all of the magic, intrigue and desire that comes with chocolate, it creates a wonderful platform for the promotion of Dunedin.''

Mr Saxton said a survey done last year showed the Cadbury carnival was the highest ranked event in New Zealand in respect of its ability to attract Australian visitors.

''It has significant pulling power. The timing is great with the school holidays and globally chocolate is seen as a commodity of indulgence, luxury and romance, so it's a really important event on Dunedin's annual festival calendar.''

The growing number of people attending carnival events, like the Jaffa Race, was testament to the success of the week, Mr Saxton said.

''It certainly still has growth potential.''

rosie.manins@odt.co.nz

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