Tue, Mar 7, 2023 9:47 AM

A seafood sensation


Tessa Jaine

This year’s nineteenth annual Havelock Mussel & Seafood Festival on March 11th, held in its magical waterfront setting at the gateway to the Marlborough Sounds, is set to be a spectacular event with some exciting new initiatives to tempt attendees.

“Having cancelled last year’s festival due to Covid, enthusiasm for this year’s festival from both contributors and attendees is at an all-time high,” says the not-for-profit-festival coordinator Kara Fielding. “All the seafood producers in the region love getting behind this event and showing off their fresh produce and all proceeds go back into the local community.”

Being the Green Shell Mussel Capital of New Zealand, there will be the familiar public mussel opening competition and mussel opening Guinness World Record attempt.  Over forty artisan food, beverage and craft stalls will be on hand to provide food and refreshments, with visitors being able to talk directly to the producers whilst they sample the region’s finest seafood.

An array of live musical acts will entertain throughout the day, among them Kiwi legend, the Jordan Luck Band, roots-rockers Lost Tribe Aotearoa, country singer Jody Direen, and duo Genre Fluid.

Simon Gault is this year’s renowned celebrity chef and as well as entertaining in the NZ King Salmon Culinary Tent, he will be hosting private cooking classes and judging a newly instated, NMIT|Te Pūkenga supported, master-chef style cooking competition.

Another first this year is an R18 VIP area, with complimentary seafood lunch, private bar, shade and seating.

A family-friendly event wouldn’t be complete without the NIWA children’s zone, and this year there is no charge for accompanied children under sixteen.

An abundance of shade and shelter will be provided to ensure the event can take place regardless of the weather. The local school will open up their field for self-contained campers who wish to stay overnight and there are two campgrounds available withing ten minutes of the venue. For those who can't stay, buses are available from Blenheim, Picton and Nelson to take visitors to and from the festival.

For those wanting to make the most of the occasion there is a Twilight Seafood Cruise available the night before and on Sunday, a full day Bird Watching Cruise into the Marlborough Sounds and Cook Straight to a spot that hasn't been visited before.

Festival tickets are limited and will be available right until the day, unless sold out prior. Tickets available online at www.havelockmusselfestival.co.nz. “This is going to be the best event yet, so people need to book early to avoid missing out,” she says.

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