Wine, food and art were all on offer in the sunshine in Clyde at the weekend.

The Clyde Wine and Food Festival, Otago’s biggest and longest-running festival, drew thousands to the historic town to sample the food, wine and beer and indulge in a spot of shopping while being entertained by local musicians.

Promote Dunstan has been running the festival for 23 years, Covid restrictions forcing cancellations in 2020 and last year. The main street was closed to traffic and given over to stands from Central Otago wineries and breweries. A huge range of food stalls made sure there was plenty in tummies to soak up the tastings. Hungarian fried bread, cupcakes and Brazilian barbecue were among the food on offer.

Entertaining… A group of RSE workers from Vanuatu brought smiles to faces and got the crowd’s toes tapping at the festival with their joyful music.

A stage on the back of a truck provided a top spot for local musicians to perform to the large crowd enjoying the warm day.

For anyone wanting to escape the crowds and sun there was the Central Otago Art Society cash and carry art exhibition right in the middle of the festival. Many festival goers enjoyed perusing the art with a glass in hand.

Further along Vanuatuan RSE workers entertained those checking out the market with everything from cheese, pickles and jams to hats and leather bags for sale.

Something for all the family . . . Although dogs were not allowed at the Clyde Wine and Food Festival at the weekend there was Scoop Dog ice cream available to take home to make up for their disappointment at being left behind. PHOTO: JULIE ASHER

Dunedin couple Brian and Jill Houston have attended every one of the festivals, renting a house in Clyde every year for the weekend.

For another group who had all gone to Otago university together it was second time lucky.

Maia Peart-Anderson said they had met up in Clyde last year with the intention of going to the festival, which could not go ahead. However, they had all come together again this year and were enjoying catching up and the festival.

Promote Dunstan committee secretary Louise Joyce said tickets had been sold online this year to make getting into the event quicker. She had broken her own rule of not checking the weather forecast before the festival day.

A few weeks ago there was ominous black cloud on the map so the sunshine was a welcome surprise, she said.

It was difficult to gauge how many people had gone through the gates but the 4000 glasses made for the event were almost gone by early afternoon. Money taken at the gate would be sent directly to the bank and the final amount would not be known for a few days, she said.

As well Central Otago wines ranging from the region’s internationally regarded Pinot Noir, to Chardonnay, rose and Gewurztraminer and locally produced port and wine cocktails were on offer. Three breweries and Oliver’s restaurant brewery had beers to sample.

Promote Dunstan would donate money raised from the festival to community groups and projects, she said. Each year a donation was made to support the Central Otago Winegrowers Association’s exchange programme to send young trainee winemakers to Burgundy, in France, for work experience in vineyards there.

Elevated experience . . . Taking in the work on show at the Central Otago Art Society’s exhibition in the Masonic Lodge building in the centre of the festival at the weekend are Katie Hayward (left) and Beth Stephens, both of Queenstown.