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People were queuing up outside the door half an hour before the Mad Hatters tea party at the Otago Museum began on Saturday morning, said Dunedin City Council events production assistant Lynette Hart-gill.
About 250 children and parents dressed in their favourite hats wolfed down chocolate cake and ice-cream and characters from the Shrek films.
"With the rugby in the city centre we felt we wanted to do something more family orientated and have it early in the day," Miss Hartgill said.
Today's jaffa race is the highlight of the week, but chocolate art classes were also popular this year, with chocolate sculpture, painting and decorating classes selling out within a week of going on sale.