French fair just like home, envoy says

By editor@age.co.nz, Andrew Bonallack -
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QUIET: Lynore Daniels, of Waikanae, with Lacey, 4, alongside the French mock-up of terrace housing, built along a racecourse building wall.PHOTO/ANDREW BONALLACK
QUIET: Lynore Daniels, of Waikanae, with Lacey, 4, alongside the French mock-up of terrace housing, built along a racecourse building wall.PHOTO/ANDREW BONALLACK

The organisers of the French Country Fair boast a French ambassador once likened it to a French village.

Heather and Gary Philips, Featherston, put on the French Country Fair as an annual event, with this year's taking place on April 2 and 3 at the Tauherenikau racecourse in South Wairarapa.

Mrs Philips the "picnic atmosphere" of the race course, combined with French-themed shopping, is what brings the charm.

A focal point and popular photo spot is 30m of "boulevard", a polystyrene facade of French-style terrace housing, with park seating in front.

A blacksmith, bookshop and vintage stall, a jazz band and French delicacies, are among the stalls.

"This will be our 12th year," said Mrs Philips. "We wanted to have a fair that you could, not just shop, but sit and enjoy music, have that picnic atmosphere. And the racecourse is just beautiful. Customers say they love coming to the French fair."

That included the previous French ambassador to New Zealand, who tried his hand at blacksmithing. "He said it was like coming to a little French village in France."

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