Busy weekend will be filled with activities

The long weekend is shaping up to be a big one in Central Otago with events planned for all its main towns and accommodation providers at or nearing capacity in some busier areas.

Tourism Central Otago marketing manager Alison Mason said Labour Weekend was traditionally a busy one for Central Otago as people came to dust off the caravans or boats ahead of the Christmas holidays but with so many events on offer this weekend, many more people would be attracted to the area.

''It's a huge weekend, just huge. It's almost like spring has well and truly woken people up.''

Clyde will have one of the busiest weekends, with Cuisine @ Clyde, the Dunstan Cricket Club and Clyde Primary School 150ths and the Clyde Bowling Club centenary.

Cuisine @ Clyde, a new event, is being organised by the group behind Clyde on Sunday.

Group member and Olivers owner David Ritchie said they wanted an event that would showcase ''fantastic local produce'' and balance out the year with the wine and food festival at Easter.

Following the official opening tonight, World Kitchen chef Nici Wickes, former Olivers owner and restaurant founder Fleur Sullivan and Dunedin chef Michael Coughlin, who also once worked at Olivers Restaurant, will hold master classes tomorrow.

They will be followed by a ''Blokes, Broads and Quisine'' barbecue challenge hosted by comedian Dai Henwood.

The four-day event will also feature locals including butcher Tony Tohill and cake maker and decorator Melissa White.

But it is not just cooking that is on Clyde's menu. The Alexandra Basin winegrowers' fifth annual new release tasting is taking place tomorrow too, with special guest John Hawkesby.

As part of Cuisine @ Clyde, there will also be wine appreciation classes and a wine and food matching class.

Mr Ritchie said tickets had been selling fast and people were coming from all over the wider Otago region.

Clyde Primary School's 150th jubilee and reunion also begins today, with pupils and staff dressing in period costume and playing old-fashioned games.

The jubilee runs through to Sunday, when a giant school picnic will be staged. About 200 people are registered for the event.

The Dunstan Cricket Club will also be celebrating its 150th jubilee but it will be a relaxed occasion.

Club secretary and treasurer Colin Gibson said about 60 people were expected for the celebrations on Monday, which would include a twenty20 match and a barbecue.

The Clyde Bowling Club is celebrating its centenary with a fours tournament and dinner on Sunday, followed by a game and barbecue on Monday.

Runners, cyclists and swimmers will be seen at the Highlands Motorsport Park near Cromwell tomorrow as the inaugural Highlands Triathlon Sprints take place.

Organiser Terry Davis said numbers were lower than hoped for and it was mostly locals who would be competing. About 100 people have entered so far.

This weekend also marks the start of the market season, with markets in Alexandra and Ranfurly tomorrow and the Central Otago Farmers Market in Old Cromwell on Sunday.

Other events include the Show and Shine car show in Roxburgh on Sunday, the Maniototo Country Music Club Hoedown and Barn Dance in Waipiata tomorrow, the Central Otago District Arts Trust Art Gold awards in Alexandra tonight and the Trashion show tonight, a speedway meet tomorrow and the half marathon or 10km walk/run on Sunday in Cromwell.

- sarah.marquet@odt.co.nz


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