A diverse group of musicians mixed with the Farmer's Market on Sunday as the Bay News Mount Busking Festival got under way.
An eclectic mix of classical, jazz, rock and rock sounds competed along Mount Maunganui's main street for the 20th anniversary, along with hip hop groups, dancers, musicians and the clinking of coins into performer's buckets.
First up were the juniors, followed by the open section after lunch. Up to 50 buskers competed for more than $3000 in prize money.
Mount Maunganui Mainstreet manager Ingrid Fleming said the event was a huge success with at least 5000 people out on the street in the morning.
The festival attracts thousands of people to Mount Maunganui. Mrs Fleming said: "It is just one of the events on throughout the summer. There's lots going on here and people will have lots to entertain them."
The festival was an unexpected surprise to some visitors as the first of the season's cruise ships, the Sun Princess, brought another 2000 visitors into the Bay.
Dawn and Bill Fricker from Lake Macquarie, New South Wales, who had just stepped off the Sun Princess into a carnival atmosphere, said they were expecting Mount Maunganui to be a small sleepy village. "We just walked in to it. I can't get over how nice the town is. The festival is a wonderful idea. There are so many children that are talented - we are very impressed," said Mr Fricker.
Kiwiana Gifts & Souvenirs owner Ian New said the event brought in a lot of people. "It's the start of the summer season and the event has been really good for the Mount in general. It's vibrant and with the cruise ship in port today and the Farmer's Market it's brought everybody out."
Zeytin Cafe co-owner Mandy Gillgren said the cafe had been really busy and it didn't matter if the event benefited retail or restaurants - anything like this was good for business. "We have done four times as many coffees as usual. Having the road closed every now and again is also a good thing so people can walk around and the kids are safe. We don't have to worry about the cars."
Owner of The Bach restaurant Colleen Heath said it had been extremely busy on the street. "We only opened last December so we didn't really know what to expect."
Winner of the open section was Bianca Goyena from Tauranga Girls' College, playing the guitar. The judges commented - "wow - exquisite precision and technique and amazing repertoire - wow".
The People's Choice Vote went to Jade Newton.
The winner of the junior section was Oliver Howes and the people's choice vote went to the group Hittmen, made up of 13 fuse drummers from schools around the Tauranga area.
Bay News Mount Busking Festival winners
People's Choice Vote - Hittmen
1st - Oliver Howes
2nd - Stella Affleck
3rd - Jonny Surry
4th - Rowan Wathen
5th - Kaea Haerewa
People's Choice Vote - Jade Newton
1st - Bianca Goyena
2nd - Lisa Hawkins
3rd - Campbell Mackenzie
4th - Launchpad McQuack
5th - Seth Rackham