Crowds up at Lovedale Long Lunch

CROWDS were up and bad behaviour was down at this year’s Lovedale Long Lunch.

Central Hunter police said they made just two arrests for alcohol-related offences on Saturday and none yesterday.

Duty officer Inspector Tim Seymour said the arrests were few given there were more than 20,000 people at the event, held at seven wineries.

‘‘By and large police were happy with the behaviour of patrons,’’ he said.

Fiona Hinton-Rodgers from Allandale Winery, said they had about 28,000 people through their gates over the weekend and crowds were up on last year.

Paramedics treated a woman who fainted but did not deal with any other emergencies.

Ms Hinton-Rodgers said liquor licence changes this year that included patrons being given two main meals helped keep people sober and fostered a more mature crowd.

‘‘It was crowd who were more focused on good food and wine,’’ she said. ‘‘We actually found people enjoyed not having the riff-raff that may have turned up last year.’’

The weather held off with crowds braving a frosty morning on Saturday and the threat of rain yesterday to enjoy a sunny lunch. Some dressed as fairies, Star Wars characters and one bus load came as Pokemon’s Pikachu.

‘‘I’m sure the Hunter’s costume shops are loving Lovedale,’’ Ms Hinton-Rodgers said.

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