Bumper post-Covid crowd tipped for Ag Fest

More than 400 stalls and a possible crowd of 20,000 are set to make West Coast Ag Fest in four weeks' time the biggest post-Covid mass gathering in the South Island.

Ag Fest was an early casualty of Covid, which hit just before it was due to be held in March.

Andy Thompson, for the organisers, said they estimated the rescheduled November 13-14 event would be 20-25% bigger than the postponed show had promised to be.

"It will have a huge (beneficial) impact on the West Coast. We had between 12,000 to 15,000 at our last event in absolutely atrocious conditions. This year we are getting a lot of interest off the West Coast -- so it could be up to 20,000."

A big Christchurch crowd was expected at the Greymouth aerodrome venue as a result of the cancellation of the Canterbury Show, and Canterbury retailers were following suit and crossing the alps for the weekend.

"We have multiple sites which would not normally be found at Ag Fest."

Greymouth volunteer firefighters will be in charge of parking along Aerodrome Road as a fundraiser for the brigade.

"There will also be a 'park and ride' around Messenger Park. Branded vans will run non-stop, and give elderly and those with children preference."

Parking will also be available in the surrounding streets.

"We are asking those who are coming in from the south to park in the streets in the area of the Greymouth Seaside Top Ten Holiday Park and walk up the cycleway," Mr Thompson said.

An access gate has been developed at the southern end of the events arena for those entering the grounds from the south. Two other entrances are located off Aerodrome Road, toward the northern end of the site.

Mr Thompson said Covid level 1 restrictions would still be enforced and everyone entering the grounds had to sign in or use the contact tracing app, to get through the gates. Hand sanitiser would be available and anyone feeling unwell would be asked to stay away.

Entry to Ag Fest is $15 for adults, $5 for schoolchildren and free for preschoolers.

 - Helen Murdoch

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