Mau­riceville Coun­try Fair about to turn 20

Wairarapa News - - FRONT PAGE - PIERS FULLER

Not longer af­ter Norma Dunn ar­rived in Mau­riceville two decades ago she went down to Clarke Do­main and re­alised what an as­set it was.

‘‘I took one look at the do­main and thought what a great sight,’’ she said.

This is where the germ of an idea grew to host an event at the un­der-utilised re­serve 20 min­utes north of Master­ton.

The first Mau­riceville Coun­try Fair 20 years ago only had had three stalls and com­pe­ti­tions for home­brew and home­made soup.

‘‘And it’s just grown from that.’’ And my how it’s grown. ‘‘It’s been mar­vel­lous. It’s just grown year af­ter year as we have es­tab­lished a rep­u­ta­tion for a good day the num­ber of stall hold­ers has in­creased. The stall­hold­ers ab­so­lutely love the sit­u­a­tion in the do­main. Only $40 for a site and we’ve stuck to that. We ap­pre­ci­ated that stall­hold­ers are there to make a few dol­lars for them­selves.’’

With stall­hold­ers com­ing from through­out the Lower North Is­land the non-profit event has been able to give a boost to many lo­cal ini­tia­tives by way of grants. The lo­cal school, the ru­ral fire force and lo­cals in need of as­sis­tance have all been re­cip­i­ents of these grants.

One of the keys to the fair’s suc­cess has been the good qual­ity coun­try en­ter­tain­ment. March­ing girls, tug-o-war, clydes­dale wag­ons, Santa Claus, old­fash­ioned fair sideshows and coun­try sports have all been fea­tures of pre­vi­ous events. This year Wil­lie Buick will be bring­ing a 200 year-old gig that he has lov­ingly re­stored.

The gig will be hitched up to some horses to give peo­ple rides.

The her­itage train from Paekakariki is bring­ing vis­i­tors via rail.

A more mod­ern form of trans­port is also very pop­u­lar at the fair. Tim Wil­liams will have his he­li­copter and will be tak­ing peo­ple up for short flights.

Af­ter run­ning the event for 20 years Norma Dunn is no longer chief or­gan­iser but she is still on the com­mit­tee.

‘‘It’s def­i­nitely been worth it. I just en­joy see­ing the stall­hold­ers happy with our or­gan­i­sa­tion the pub­lic hav­ing an en­joy­able day out. ‘‘

Jenny Barre has taken over the reins and is do­ing a great job, Norma said.

The fair is at Clarke Do­main, Mau­riceville on Sun­day De­cem­ber 3 from 9am-4pm.

PIERS FULLER/STUFF

Norma Dunn was the founder and long­time chief or­gan­iser of the Mau­riceville Coun­try Fair.

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