Beerfest popular way for many to mark start of summer

The first day of summer was celebrated in style in Wanaka on Saturday.

The third annual Wanaka Beer Festival was held at the Wanaka Showgrounds, and hosted about 1400 people, nearly tripling  the number of last year’s event.

Twelve breweries were serving drinks, while a winery and distillery gave further options for those not keen on beer.

Barbecues, live music, jenga and disc golf also gave the crowd plenty of entertainment.

Organiser James Hay said people were "enjoying themselves, but responsibly" and there had been a good vibe all day.

He believed the popularity of the event was due to it marking the start of summer in the resort town.

The rain held off, the people streamed in, and beer was poured at Saturday’s Wanaka Beer Festival...
The rain held off, the people streamed in, and beer was poured at Saturday’s Wanaka Beer Festival, organised by (from left) James Hay, James Julian, and Joel Le Breton. Photo: Sean Nugent
"It’s just a good day out, and with Christmas coming up it’s a good chance to take time out."

Fellow organiser James Julian said the event had resource consent for up to 1500 people and no plans to expand.

"We didn’t actually intend it to have it as big this year, we were going to just bring it up to 1000, but when we  put up a Facebook event, we had about 6000 people interested so we thought maybe we would open the door a little more.

"1400 is a good number, we’re going to keep it a similar size for the next few years just so it can be easily managed and doesn’t get so big that it ruins the atmosphere.

"We do it for the love of it rather than the commercial side of it."

sean.nugent@odt.co.nz

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