Today, the historic gold mining precinct boasts modern eateries, craft and gift shops spread along the lake shore. And, every Sunday from labour weekend through to the end of February the historic precinct hosts the Central Otago Farmers Market. As an added bonus on the first weekend in January, it was game on for cherry spitting and pie eating competitions at the inaugural Cromwell Cherry Festival. Read on to find out what happened in 2015.
Having wandered through the market and checked out the Cobb & Co stables, we settled on a cup of coffee and pastries for sustenance. Nesting on our trusty picnic blanket in the shade of a hedgerow, we settled in to watch the cherry festival sporting events.
I honestly had no idea that cherry stone spitting could be so athletic! The event seemed to be a real family affair, and all age groups were well represented. A variety of spitting techniques were deployed, ranging from a wound up huffing squat and jump, through to a whiplash-inducing hoicking neck thrust.
Each of the contestants seemed to step up to the board with all concentration of Valerie Adams going for Olympic gold. Nathanael Napier, 19, won the 2015 event title with a spit of 11.67 metres, definitely the winner on the day, but not quite the record-breaking 12.09 metre of previous years.
The pie eating competition proved just as popular. All I can say is I’m surprised that North Canterbury's Mike Benny (the winner of the adult competition) didn’t need the Heimlich manoeuvre post competition – the pie was inhaled that quickly!
Full credit to the Cromwell Promotions Group for setting up the day, and don’t forget that even if you are just passing through on your way to Wanaka or Queenstown, Old Cromwell Town is definitely worth investigating, especially if it’s a Central Otago Farmers Market day.