A crowd of people on Market St at the Wine and Food Market Day in 2015.
A popular market day in Blenheim’s town centre, normally held the day before the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival, might not happen next year as it scrambles to find funding.
The Wine and Food Festival Market was started by a group of volunteers to give festival-goers something else to do in the region that weekend, while supporting local businesses.
It was renamed the CBD Market this year to avoid confusion after Wine Marlborough decided not to hold the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival over fears a Covid outbreak could prevent harvest from happening.
Pure Events Marlborough took over the running of the market this year, adding an evening market, Savour, to further plug the gap of not having the festival.
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They received $30,000 funding from the Marlborough District Council’s TEAM group, set up to help drive the region’s economic recovery post-Covid.
But the council this week turned down a long-term plan request from Pure Events Marlborough for $25,000 to put on the two markets again next year.
A request by Feast Marlborough, another organisation doing food events, for $200,000 was also turned down. It started the Summer Feast series, with help from TEAM, when the wine and food festival was cancelled.
Pure Events Marlborough chief executive Katrina Lange said the CBD Market in February had more than 100 stallholders, attracting about 4000 people over the day.
“It’s a real shame, it was such a great event for the community.
“It has been well-attended and well-supported. Stopping these markets will affect so many people.”
Lange said she would look at other funding options.
“At this stage it is just a very disappointing result for such a successful event … There is a very high potential that the event will not go ahead, unless there is another funding source.
“Fundraising takes a lot of time and there are so many deserving charities that are trying to fundraise, we just don’t want to go down that road.
“We don’t want a ticketed event either, and sponsorship is a really difficult option in the current climate,” Lange said.
Long-term plan submissions were heard over three days at the council last week, wrapping up on Thursday. The council decided on Tuesday to turn down the requests of Pure Events Marlborough and Feast Marlborough. It was suggested the council look at creating a community events fund.
“Obviously council can’t support every single event, but you have to look at the scale and the amount of benefits [of the two markets],” Lange said.
“[CBD] Market Day and Savour are a key driver to Marlborough’s economy as well as offering quality, free events to the community.”
At the end of Tuesday’s long-term plan deliberations, the council announced it was looking at a 5.2 per cent rates increase this year, with the final amount signed off at the next full council meeting on June 24. The new rates would come into effect on July 1.
Read More: Popular market for the chop if funding can’t be found