Cherries have hit the shops in plenty of time to practise spitting the stones before the national championships next week.

The annual New Zealand National Cherry Stone Spitting Championship will be held on December 27 at McNulty House, in Cromwell.

Competitors register on the day from 11.30am and anyone wearing red this year will receive an extra cherry — and a chance to set a record.

Cromwell & Districts Promotions Group event manager Kelly Cruickshank-Giles said there were competition sections for all ages.

Aarran Collins, of Dunedin, in the international Cherry Spitting Competition at Cromwell on Sunday. Aarran is a two times winner, and took his third title with a record breaking 13.2 metre measurement

‘‘The event is always a hit with locals and visitors. With some entertaining competitiveness and lawn games for the kids, it’s a fun day in the sun, so come along and have a go.’’

Practice might be needed to beat last year’s men’s winner, seasoned competitor Aaron Collins, who managed to send his cherry flying 9.3m. The women’s event was won by Anna Bassett with a distance of 6.8m, after a tense tie-breaker with Dorothy McHugh.