A positive news forecast, more food vendors and a new venue isn’t the only new thing to the Sunshine Gourmet Markets with Fairview Aluminium and Ocean Ford this year; this is also the first year for online sales.

Avid foodies have been flocking to the web to snap up their tickets online for the Hospice Fundraiser to ensure they speed through the entry gate with their pre-purchased tickets.

The live music is set to create a fantastic atmosphere beginning with the The Porch Rockers, and Daughter of the band’s Leilana who will be performing her very moving song “Kaitikaki”. There are a number of brilliant performing artists from across the North Island and including Sharn TePou, Cam Rota, Greg Standen, Demi Arbuckle, and Karla Lyford.

More vendors than ever before will be dishing up a variety of delights, with plenty of sweet and savoury treats along with a garden bar run by Mata Beer, The Cider Factorie and The Cocktail Cart. Notable food vendors include the ever popular Johney’s Dumpling House, Teariffic Bubble Tea with their bubble tea and deep fried desserts, Gibbos seafood, Tupuānuku, Seed Wholefoods, TOP BBQ with their slow smoked meats, a new pacific island food stall and Aloha Poke.

With the forecast pointing to a nice warm day, there are a variety of ice cream and gelato options available in addition to the abundant tree shade and free water to keep cool.

This year gate entry will be $10, however online the tickets are $5 each and include the option to add a Hospice donation to your purchase. “We have noticed many ticketgoers are very generous and are paying the same as gate entry via donations but buying their tickets in advance” says Fundraising Manager Anna Hughes. “It’s been remarkable to see the generous spirit of our community”.

Online sales have gone “better than expected” according to Mrs Hughes, with a high volume of sales coming through daily. “We know the majority of our guests will pay at the gate, so while our online sales are going well, with the ease of a ticket scanning app it will be much faster to buy your tickets in advance and take the short line at the gates.

“We’re so grateful to everyone who helps us make this event possible” says Mrs Hughes. “from Tracks Concrete helping with the fencing to Simplex Electrical helping with the wiring, to our wonderful food vendors and ticket buyers! And of it would be possible without our naming sponsor Air Chathams, and our media partners The Beacon, 1xx, and La Vita.”

The event will be set at the Whakatane Rose Gardens on Saturday 29th February from 1pm to 7pm. There will be two entries, one from McGarvey Road and off the Warren Cole walkway coming from the McAlistair Street side. Entrants can pay their $10 entrance fee by cash or eftpos at the gate, or take the short line by bringing their pre-purchased ticket from the Whakatane Hospice Shop or www.sunshineandaplate.nz before 5pm on Friday 28th of February.