Time to get Hoicking for a Central Otago Community Event! Are you on form for the 2016 Cromwell Cherry Festival?
Visiting the Old Cromwell Historic Precinct is a bit like being transported back to the gold rush days of the 1870’s. Today, the historic gold mining precinct boasts modern eateries, craft and gift shops spread along the lake shore. Every Sunday from Labour Weekend through to Easter the historic precinct also hosts the Central Otago Farmers & Crafts Market. As an added bonus on the first weekend in January, it will also be game on for the cherry spitting and pie eating competitions at 2016 Cromwell Cherry Festival, a Central Otago community event that is not to be missed.
Cheese fiends and those foodies who like things a little gourmet will not be disappointed as they wander around the McNulty family estate and shops at the back of the Old Cromwell. Candy floss and ingeniously twisted chips (made from a power drill and roasted potatoes) will also be on offer amongst the crafty gifts and clothing stalls for those who like something a little sweeter or well-engineered.
After exploring the market, be sure to bring a picnic rug so you can nest under a historic fruit tree and watch the cherry challenges and extremely competitive cherry spitting events. Cherrystone spitting is honestly an athletic past time. The event is always a family affair, with all age groups are well represented and a variety of spitting techniques deployed. Ranging from a wound up huffing squat and jump, through to a whiplash-inducing hoicking neck thrust spitting, the little stones seem to go a superhuman distance and regardless of the chosen method of propulsion.
Last year each of the contestants stepped up to the board with all the concentration of Valerie Adams going for Olympic gold. Nathaniel Napier, 19, won the 2015 event title with a spit of 11.67 metres - definitely the winner on the day, but not quite the record-breaking 12.09 metres achieved in previous years.
The pie eating competition is also worth a look. In 2015, it was surprising that North Canterbury's Mike Benny (the winner of the adult competition) didn’t need the Heimlich manoeuvre post - competition as the pie was inhaled that quickly!
This is definitely a Central Otago community event that is not to be missed, and even if you are just passing through on your way to Wanaka or Queenstown, Old Cromwell Town will definitely be worth visiting on the 3rd of January 2016. For more information go to www.cromwell.org.nz/events.