This Sunday’s Wakefield Apple Fair promises to be the biggest and best yet, with organisers expecting to better last year’s crowd of 4000 people.


The event, now into its sixth year, started small with about 500 people coming along, organising committee member Katrina Richards says.


One of the focuses of this weekend’s fair will be the history of apple trees in New Zealand, with it being 200 years since missionary Samuel Marsden brought fruit trees intothe country. There will be a special display at the fair, tracing events concerning apples in New Zealand over those 200 years.


The Nelson/Tasman area has had a connection with apples right from the time of early European settlers, with trees being brought into the area onboard some of the early ships.


Last year’s fair featured about 120 different types of apples for tasting, including plenty of old-fashioned varieties, Katrina says, and although there will not be quite that number this time there will still be a huge selection to try out.


Apple pressing will play a big part at the fair. There will be a hydraulic press set up to juice the seven bins of apples donated by Hoddys Orchard. People will be able to buy a bladder and fill it with some of that juice.


Those who want to juice their own apples will be able to bring their fruit along and press it themselves in one of the vintage presses that will be available on-site.


Food stalls at the event have been asked to, where possible, give their offerings an apple theme, with food available set to include hot dogs made with apples, while baking will include favourites like apple turnovers and Shrewsbury biscuits using apples rather than berries.


Entertainment will be spread across three stages and will include the Plinkers ukelele orchestra, a brass band, Ragged Crows Morris Dancers, Kahurangi Irish Dance School, Tasman Line Dancers, and musicians Brian Shone, Adrian King and Shirely Lethborg.


For the kids there will a puppet theatre and story telling, along with other children’s activities and games, pony rides and face painting. New this year – and not just for kids – is a quiz about apples, which has already been printed in the local Wakefield newsletter.


The local branch of the New Zealand Tree Crops Association will be selling fruit and apple trees. The trees will feature heritage varieties that produce apples with names like black prince and scarlet pimpernel. Pacific Islanders play a big role on apple orchards in the area and they have been invited to come along and join in.


With Anzac Day on the horizon, Nelson RSA will also be on-site for a poppy drive. There will be plenty of car parking available, with local Lions and Motueka cadets acting as parking marshals, with parking provided for the elderly closer to the gates.
The Wakefield Apple Fair will be at Willow Bank Historic Village from 11.30am to 3.30pm on Sunday, with entry being a gold coin donation. Eftpos will be available but no dogs or smoking is permitted, and it’s an alcohol-free event.

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