Oyster festival expected to sell out quickly

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files
Organisers of the Bluff Oyster and Food Festival expect to sell all the tickets for this year’s event in record time.

Selling out months before the event was nothing new for them, but festival committee member Kylie Fowler believed people would be even more eager to be part this year, due to the impact of Covid-19.

Tickets for this year’s event go on sale at 9am on February 1 and Ms Fowler had already received emails from many people planning to buy tickets.

"Someone told me they cleared their schedule on that morning, just to buy tickets.

"The festival is getting bigger each year."

She said about only half of the tickets, some 2000, would be available on the website, as many people had kept their pass from last year's cancelled event.

"After the cancellation of the 2020 festival, due to Covid restrictions, many elected to roll their tickets over to the 2021 event."

Ms Fowler said the fastest sell-out happened last year when all tickets were sold by the first week of January.

"Usually we take months to sell all the tickets, but I believe this year we will be sold out in a matter of weeks."

Kiwis who usually spent holidays overseas also showed interest in the traditional Southland event.

"They are looking for holiday options within New Zealand and they heard about our festival and they want to be part of it."

Ms Fowler said expectations for the event were high following a gap and some uncertainty in the past.

In 2019, the trust was denied permission to demolish the Club Hotel, a deteriorating historic building in Bluff, which it could not sell and did not have the money to maintain.

Ms Fowler guaranteed all the safety issues around the building were under control for now.

However, conversation with council was continuing, as the trust still wanted to demolish the building to provide more space for people during the event.

It would also give an assurance of safety, as the building could be a problem in the future if there was further deterioration.

"We’ve got to deal with that, but everybody is on holiday.

"Hopefully, we will have some progress on the matter soon."

The Bluff Oyster and Food Festival will be held on May 22.

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