PM contests oyster eating competition

Prime Minister John Key joined the crowds at yesterday's Bluff Oyster and Food Festival, but missed out on a spot in the final of the oyster eating competition after coming third in his heat.

The annual festival, the running of which was taken over by the local community for the first time last year, celebrates Bluff's most famous export through a series of competitions, tastings and even a fashion event.

Local identity Spencer Morrison carried the first platter of oysters into the festival grounds and recited an Ode to the Oyster before proceedings got underway.

Festival regular Keith Lovett took out three of the men's oyster opening competitions - the open race, the veterans' race and the blindfolded race - while a visitor from Kerikeri, Warrick Hyland, scooped the men's oyster eating title.

Local woman Jan Beaton won the women's opening competition and former Bluff Community Board Chairman, Lex Perkins, took out the celebrity contest - edging out media personality Marcus Lush.

In the afternoon, the fashion awards showcased creativity with oyster sacks, with some of the entries having such whimsical names as Enchanted Entanglement and Fish in a Waterfall.

Chairman of the festival, John Edminstin, said it was a marvellous day and thanked the many volunteers who helped it come to fruition.

- NZ HERALD STAFF

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