Whitianga was host to the “best ever” Scallop Festival on 28 August. Miraculously the sun shone throughout the day after something like 30 days of rain in the upper North Island.
What must have been up to 10,000 revellers packed the site with queues starting well before opening time at 10am. Those in early could get a table out in the sunshine, while others used the free disposable Monteiths seats to sit on the ground and make merry in a picnic-like atmosphere on the waterfront. Four main marquees each had separate top live band entertainment, so there was plenty of revelling – especially later in the day when the effects of wine and food had clearly begun to show!
Celebrity chefs including Ray McVinnie and Masterchef winner Brett McGregor cooked up a storm while a diverse range of bands including The Rooftop Collective, The Con-Rays and the blues band The Flaming Mudcats played to the crowds.
But this festival is all about food – scallops in particular! Top favourite from a wide range of festivalgoers were the steamed scallop “siu mai” dumplings served with a sweet chilli sauce from Koru at Rapaura. If you are into a more heterosexual-type crowd this is the place for you. Funny how many gay boys (and girls) appear to enjoy it!