Ready to receive oyster fans

Lindsay Beer and Kylie Fowler stand in front of the now demolished Club Hotel which was cleared...
Lindsay Beer and Kylie Fowler stand in front of the now demolished Club Hotel which was cleared for the Bluff Oyster and Food Festival to go ahead on May 25. PHOTO: NINA TAPU
The building is down. The tickets are all but gone. Musicians have been booked.

The Bluff Oyster and Food Festival is 10 days away from making a triumphant return after a lengthy hiatus caused by Covid, "compliance issues" and a demolition delay.

The last Bluff Oyster and Food Festival took place in 2021. It was cancelled in 2022 because of Covid-19 issues and did not take place last year because of safety concerns relating to the neighbouring Club Hotel in Bluff.

But a hearing late last year approved the hotel to be knocked down and this was carried out over the past month. Things are coming together with the event on May 25 almost sold out.

Organisers said the festival had a winning formula — keep it simple stupid.

"We provide the oysters, music and that’s it," festival committee member Kylie Fowler said.

Ms Fowler stressed the committee was committed to maintaining two rules — the festival would never have naming rights and there were no VIPs — everyone was the same.

‘People from all ages, cultures and demographics come to the event and the charm of the event is that there is no special treatment. That is the joy of it.

"You could have someone who’s helicoptered in from Auckland to Invercargill then gets seated next to some old guy from down the road and they end up chatting about oysters."

The festival was made possible by a committee of dedicated volunteers and help on the day from 16 groups from the community.

"We have the Costco guys emptying the bins, the marching girls taking the tickets and the hockey team keeping the site clean."

Bluff oyster farmer John Edminstin said positive weather forecasts promised to deliver plenty of oysters in time for the festival, which were of a satisfactory size.

By Nina Tapu