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Last year’s festival was cancelled shortly before it was scheduled to start as a consequence of Covid-19.
Ms Watts said it was great to be able to deliver the 2021 event, which would run until Monday.
On Thursday, a large crowd was entertained during the official opening, which included performances from Christchurch’s MulletMan and his partner, Mim, the Buckingham Belles and the Mini Belles.
About 130 Wakatipu residents attended this year’s event — and drank the hall dry within an hour.
Festival volunteers had to quickly head off to the nearest liquor store to collect more bottles of sherry to help "whet the whistles" of the guests.
Major events today include an autumn long lunch, at Akarua Wines and Kitchen, an outdoor screening of the film Shrek from 6.15pm at Buckingham Green and the opening of the annual Autumn Festival art exhibition and awards presentation at the Lakes District Museum from 7.30pm.