Trains, picnic chock-a-block

A Dunedin woman is disappointed she and her two children have missed out on tickets for two events in Dunedin's Cadbury Chocolate Carnival next month.

The growing popularity of the carnival on July 7-13 means some events were booked out early.

Dunedin mother Trish Penman was surprised at how fast two Cadbury Crunchie Train rides and the Teddy Bears' Picnic at Larnach Castle sold out. She did not realise bookings could be made months in advance.

She received Cadbury's promotional carnival booklet, which included booking information, in her letterbox on Thursday evening.

Having missed out on events last year, Mrs Penman planned to take a day off work and accompany her children on a Cadbury Taieri Gorge Railway train ride to Hindon and return.

"I thought I was going to be smart and on to it this year and as soon as I got the booklet I rang early the next morning to book seats. But I was told the trains were booked out ages ago," she said.

Mrs Penman then tried in vain to get picnic tickets.

"I found it quite disheartening. I hadn't seen anything advertised until the booklet came with The Star, so I thought I had plenty of time and opportunity," she said.

The train rides sold out almost two weeks ago, after people started booking in March for the 350 seats available on each trip.

Mrs Penman is one of about 100 on a waiting list for seats if a carriage can be added on each ride.

The first bears' picnic booking was made in April, and the last ticket sold early last week.

The event is limited to about 140 children and adults.

Cadbury New Zealand corporate affairs manager Melissa Le Mesurier said when contacted by the Otago Daily Times the carnival was promoted through a range of media, including the internet. The carnival's growing popularity meant some events were booked out early, she said.

"Dunedin is the home of Cadbury in New Zealand and we will continue to work with our local community partners to make the carnival as accessible to families as possible," she said.

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