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Havelock Mussel Festival

SHUCKING AND GROOVING A favourite on the foodies’ calendar is poised to net a host of funk-music fans with The Black Seeds on the bill. Phil Barnes checks out a tasty line-up. PHOTOS COURTESY SANFORD LIMITED

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sell-out crowd of 5000 is expected to attend the revamped and expanded Havelock Mussel and Seafood Festival on March 17. Coordinator Hans Neilson says the festival has become the biggest day of the year for Havelock as much of the area’s identity is tied up with mussels and aquaculture. “It’s the economic backbone of this town.” Hans says the festival means many things to different people. Some are attracted by the entertainment, others the food and others by learning a little about Havelock and the seafood industry. The festival, now in its 14th year, offers something for everyone, with high-quality food and cooking demonstrations, entertainment and competitions, he says. This year features top funk-reggae band The Black Seeds, and to tie in with the festival being held on St Patrick’s Day, Wellington Celtic music duo The Filthy Two. Tickets for the festival cost $29 (free for under 12s), which Hans says is wonderful value when you consider that normally it would cost at least $60 just to watch a band such as The Black Seeds in concert. “But this is a family event and we want to keep prices affordable.”

Of course, the festival also offers a feast of seafood. Simon Gibb, the new chairman of the event’s organising committee, says people can start with mussels and salmon, then follow it up with clams and oysters. Celebrity chef Nadia Lim and Paulie Hooton, head chef from the Auckland Seafood School, will each give two cooking demonstrations, while Mark Preece, of NZ King Salmon, will demonstrate salmon filleting and pin-boning, and local chef Chris Fortune will contribute his skills. Other activities include a strongman and strongwoman competition, which is one of just three events where contestants can qualify for the next world championships. Simon says it is exciting to watch the athletes pull massive vehicles and lift weights such as boulders and tree trunks – all done as fast as possible. Other competitions include a Guinness world record mussel-opening attempt. Hans says this involves teams from local seafood companies competing to ‘shuck’ the most mussels. The winning team then makes an attempt at the world record. Representatives from Guinness will be present to officiate. Mussel-opening competitions will also be held for individuals. Also on the bill are competitions for stall-holders, mussel float sculptures and best dress-ups. A Kidszone will feature a bouncy castle, climbing wall and colouring competition. For the first time, an Aquaculture Week ties in with the festival this year. ABOVE: The stunning setting of the Havelock Mussel and Seafood festival. 31

Wildtomato march 2018  
Wildtomato march 2018