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Kai Fest team ready for the big day

March 31st, 2017

Nearly two years of concept development and detailed planning will come to fruition next Sunday, April 9th with the running of the inaugural Motueka Kai Fest.

The planning team, which has grown to nearly a dozen this year, held its final meeting this week, with their main worry being what to do if the weather is atrocious on the day.

In an encouraging start to the meeting, team leader Petra Stephenson reported that all 160 stall positions around Decks Reserve are now filled. About one third of them are offering food and food products.

The remaining stalls are regular Sunday Market operators and a large number of community stalls.

Kai Fest event coordinator Terri Everett is drawing together all the strands of the multifaceted event. She has enlisted the help of Ian Ramsden to look after the entertainment program, Whenua Iti to run the family games component, and Renee Docherty, Kahu Geor and Tania Corbett to organise the pageant, parade and opening ceremony segment.

The event is being held in conjunction with the Sunday Market though at a slightly later time, and the market manager Judy Roper has been playing a key role coordinating and encouraging stall holders and promoting the event among local businesses.

Meanwhile, the Our Kai Motueka food resilience group, under Petra's guidance, has put together a program of food workshops running throughout next week to complement the Sunday festivities. (See details here.)

The Sunday Kai Fest program begins at 10.00am with stalls opening and entertainment from the stage truck as well as mobile entertainers and buskers.

At 11.00am the event will be opened formally with a colourful, vibrant parade of costumed schoolchildren and Pacifica workers, in a pageant honouring the four elements: earth, water, air and fire.

The parade participants will circulate on the path around Decks Reserve before coming together for a symbolic gathering and celebration of our food and our environment.

From about 11.30am the entertainment program will continue, and at 1.00pm a 45-minute program of family games will take place in the centre of the reserve. After that it's back to entertainment until the short closing ceremony at 3.00pm.

Vision Motueka, which initiated the event concept in mid 2015, has been looking after all finances and preparing much of the publicity around the event, while Petra has worked with Terri to lead the detailed event planning.

The core planning group began meeting regularly in the spring of 2015, and gradually people with special interests in parts of the event have joined as details were fleshed out.

Early work was supported by seed funding from Vision Motueka, Nelson Economic Development Agency, Tasman District Council, Tasman Bay Promotions Association and Wakatu Inc. Once plans were confirmed, larger funding was obtained from Rata Foundation and Lion Foundation.

The total budget being used to publicise and mount the event has been just under $20,000.

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