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Wellington's Beloved Food and Wine Festival Has Been Postponed Due to Covid-19

It's another huge blow for the events industry and fans of the popular annual event.
By Sarah Templeton
January 28, 2022
By Sarah Templeton
January 28, 2022

In yet another blow for the country's events industry, Wellington's premiere foodie festival has been pushed out to December.

A series of events and festivals around the country have had to be either cancelled or postponed since Aotearoa was plunged into red in the country's COVID-19 traffic light framework last week, after cases of the highly contagious Omicron variant were found in the community.

Under red, both indoor and outdoor events are limited to 100 people and the use of vaccine passports is mandatory.

Since the announcement, some of the country's big cultural festivals have all been canned, including New Zealand Fashion Week and the Auckland Lantern Festival.

The latest victim is the Wellington Food and Wine Festival, which was scheduled to go ahead Saturday, February 12, at Waitangi Park. It's now scheduled to go ahead on December 10, a full ten months later.

But the Events Transition Support Payment scheme (ETSP) offered by the Government only is offered to events with over 5000 paid and ticketed or paid and registered attendees.

Wellington Food and Wine Festival director Damien Hochberg told Concrete Playground that as their capacity is 4500, none of their suppliers were eligible to receive the grant.

However he said they didn't "have much choice" in pushing the event.

"We feel that we could still deliver a fun day out in the sun in December. We don't feel that if we postponed it by a month that would do any good," he said.

He told Concrete Playground it was likely the hotly-anticipated Fried Chicken Festival, due to begin on Friday, February 25, would also have to be canned, although annual event Beers at the Basin may be able to proceed in April as long as organisers had enough notice of a level change.

"It's tough times but we realise we're not the only ones in this position. The support, understanding and patience we've been receiving is phenomenal," he said.

In the meantime, we recommend holding your own mini-festival by buying a bottle or two of the good stuff online and having it delivered to your home, to support vendors disappointed by the postponement.

The Wellington Wine and Food Festival was scheduled to run Saturday, February 12 but will now run Saturday, December 10. For more information and updates, head to the official website.

Published on January 28, 2022 by Sarah Templeton
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