Festival geared up for crowds to stay merry

By Roger Moroney

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PREPARATION: Winemaker Barry Riwai (left) helps Bridge Pa Wine Festival co-ordinator Paul Ham of Alpha Domus winery start preparing for this weekend's festival. Photo/ Warren Buckland.
PREPARATION: Winemaker Barry Riwai (left) helps Bridge Pa Wine Festival co-ordinator Paul Ham of Alpha Domus winery start preparing for this weekend's festival. Photo/ Warren Buckland.

With the weather forecast to be bright sunshine and 30C of heat, the organisers of tomorrow's second Bridge Pa Wine Festival have brought in reinforcements - of the shade variety.

"It's going to be pretty similar to last year, which was blue skies and very warm so in preparation we have all added extra shade sails," Bridge Pa Triangle chairman Paul Ham said of the seven wineries involved in staging the event.

The additional shade sails were part of a major stepping-up process of planning for what would become an annual major summer event in Hawke's Bay.

With the 950 ticket sales of last year's inaugural event upped to just over 1800, Mr Ham said more logistical work had to be carried out to ensure things ran smoothly.

"It has gone well in the build-up and everyone is ready for it - I think we've got a pretty good system in place."

One area which had been worked on was transport after some minor issues emerged last year as groups of festival-goers were left with long waits for buses.

The organisers and Nimons have worked hard on formulating a schedule that ensures the hop-on hop-off bus network keeps festival-goers moving between the seven wineries.

Twenty buses will pick up festival-goers from Hastings, Havelock North, Taradale and Napier.

Seven buses will then be on the winery circuit with two on stand-by.

"Those who will travel out by bus will not know which winery they'll visit first - it will remain a secret until they are dropped off," Mr Ham said.

"This will help spread out festival-goers, which will in turn ensure they get to enjoy the first winery's fare and setting without long queues for wine or food.

"We want to make it the most enjoyable and hassle-free day as possible."

Tickets will remain on sale until tomorrow with wineries having a limited number of tickets for those who turn up on the day.

"This is the key one for us," Mr Ham said, citing the increased numbers.

"If it all goes well, then we've got it locked in nicely."

The wineries involved are Alpha Domus, Ngatarawa Estate, Abbey Cellars, Hawke's Ridge Winery, Ash Ridge Wines, Sileni Estate and Paritua Vineyard.

Tickets are still available from the participating wineries or through www.eventfinda.co.nz.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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