Clyde: It's the place to be this Sunday

A record number of wineries and food stalls are taking part in the Clyde Wine and Food Harvest Festival on Easter Sunday.

‘‘The harvesting of grapes from local vineyards is ready to be celebrated by the annual wine and food festival and this year, in spite of the competition from other Easter events, it will feature 20 wineries and host about 5000 people,'' festival convener Louise Joyce said.

Twenty wineries and 16 food stalls will cater for the crowd.

Promote Dunstan is organising the event and, to cope with the expected crowds, the group has this year further extended the part of the main street to be closed to traffic.

Ms Joyce said it was also trying to ease pressure in the narrow part of the main street, so tables and chairs would be in front of the stage.

This will be the seventh harvest festival in Clyde's historic precinct, which retains many of the characteristics and buildings of the gold rush days.

‘‘It is thought to be the only wine and food festival in New Zealand in an historic centre and that is perhaps why its unique atmosphere attracts visitors from overseas and well as many parts of New Zealand,'' Ms Joyce said.

From humble beginnings when about five wineries took part, the festival had grown to become a ‘‘premier'' wine event in Central Otago, she said.

‘‘It is deliberately restricted to local producers and highlights their wide range of wines, including internationally renowned pinot noir produced by the world's most southerly vineyards in the Earnscleugh-Clyde-Alexandra basin,'' Ms Joyce said.

The crowd at last year's festival took organisers by surprise.

‘‘We ran out of festival glasses by 2pm and had to raid the stock of plastic glasses from the Clyde Volunteer Fire Brigade. This year we have more than doubled our festival glass order,'' she said.

Entry is $5, or $10 with a festival wine glass. Wine will only be sold to people who have a festival glass.

Festival participants can choose from a vast selection of food, with everything from steak and salad sandwiches, gourmet sausages and pies, lamb shanks, kebabs, sushi, platters, salmon rolls, venison, beef patties and pancakes through to Mississippi mudcake and cream, raspberries and ice-cream, strawberries, organic muffins and Devonshire teas.

The festival is scheduled to start at 11am and end at 5pm. Dog owners are asked to leave their pets at home.

A shuttle bus will run between Alexandra and Clyde on the hour from the Information Centre in Alexandra, starting at 11am, costing $4 one-way. There will also be a bus from Cromwell to Clyde and return. The bus leaves from the Shell Service Station at 11am and returns to Cromwell at 3.30pm. The cost, subsidised by Promote Dunstan, will be $6 return.

Proceeds from the day will go to community groups and projects.

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