Local artists were this week recovering from an intense weekend of visitors after another successful Raglan Arts Weekend.

Hundreds of people swarmed to artists’ studios around Raglan and to the Old School Arts Centre, where several more artists were exhibiting and the inaugural Little Food Fest was being held to coincide with the arts event.

Jean Carbon, who was selling fabric and fashion wares, was exhausted after a “non-stop” procession of about 150 people through her studio – at one point, she counted 26 people in her small room – over the weekend.

She had been part of all six Raglan Arts weekends, and this one rated well with visitors commenting on the good organisation of the event. She had also made some sales and exchanged contact details with many.

“It’s a marketing exercise… and they get to see what you do and they get to understand what you do,” Jean said.
Photographer Richard Gemmell, who was based at the Old School, said the Raglan Community Arts Council had done a good job of promoting and running the event.

“I think what’s special about it is that people can got out to the [artists’] studios … as opposed to seeing a picture in a gallery,” Richard said.

Raglan Community Council chair Rodger Gallagher said the arts weekend and Little Food Fest combination was “an overwhelming success” from the council’s point of view.

“We have a good formulae now that works well. We can tweak it a bit next year and keep on improving it,” he said.
What also worked well were the complementary events that were on in Raglan over the same weekend, including the KASM Sandcastle Competition and the music at the Raglan Club and the YOT Club.

“In future we’d like to see the cafes joining in with a display of local art,” Rodger said, adding that the arts weekend was only made possible through funding from Creative Communities Waikato, Waikato District Council and some local businesses.

The two-day Little Food Fest at the Old School attracted about a dozen vendors in its first year. Sales were so good that several vendors sold out of their wares, including local vendors the Raglan Pie Company and Dizzy Blocks.

Viligrad Wines, a fifth-generation family winery based at Ngahinepouri near Hamilton, had about 250 people visit its stand on both days, said estate manager Kristian Nooyen.

The winery came to promote and talk to people about its range of wines, rather than to make lots of money, with a focus on the “human touch” and wine appreciation.

“I think the scene here is very comforting. The people are lovely, the vibe that Raglan sends off to people is genuine – everyone is nice and friendly and easy to talk to,” Kristian said.

Viligrad and other vendors had enjoyed the Little Food Fest and were keen to return next year for the second one.

Rachel Benn