Fairfield Tavern reunion ahead

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Toasting a tavern . . . Fairfield Tavern Reunion co-organisers Lynn Patrick (left), of Mosgiel, and Carol Spalding, of Fairfield, pour a glass of sparkling grape juice on the former tavern site in Fairfield. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

A three-day reunion is brewing for former Fairfield Tavern staff and patrons.

Fairfield Tavern Reunion co-organiser Lynn Patrick, of Mosgiel, said she worked at the tavern for 15 years from 1975.

She recalled attending the pub opening in 1971 and watching “barrel races” – patrons competing to roll wooden barrels the fastest down a long driveway leading to the tavern.

The tavern closed in 2005 to be demolished to make way for a residential subdivision.

The houses in the subdivision surround St James Pl in Fairfield.

A tall tree that was near the front of the tavern remains on the former tavern site.

The tavern was one of the first “family bar and restaurants” in Dunedin and had “lovely gardens” and “wonderful food”.

Patrons had the choice of drinking in the lounge bar or the public bar.

The lounge bar had a garden area and a playground for children.

“It was beautiful.”

The public bar was occasionally frequented by gang members, who respected the tavern’s no patches policy.

“There was never any trouble – it was all please, thank you and ta.”

A reunion for former tavern staff and patrons will be held over Otago Anniversary weekend.

The “main event” will be held at the Green Island Rugby Club from 6.30pm on Saturday, March 23.

The ticket price of $25 covers the cost of the venue, supper and band Sidewalk Sally.

Any profit from the event will be given to Otago Community Hospice.

Other reunion events are a “casual get-together” in Mosgiel Tavern from 5pm on Friday, March 22 and a barbecue in Edith St, Fairfield from noon on Sunday, March 24.

Reunion co-organiser Carol Spalding, of Fairfield, said her sister Julie Martin came up with the idea for the reunion.

Her sister lived in Portland, United States and planned to attend the reunion.

The tavern was a “community hub” and was “very missed”.

“Everybody met there – it was a brilliant place.”

Anyone who had visited the tavern could buy a ticket for the reunion by emailing her on spaldzwife@gmail.com, she said.