Mauriceville Country Fair about to turn 20
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.
Norma Dunn was the founder and longtime chief organiser of the Mauriceville Country Fair.