Train, new name for festival


Wednesday, April 22

A new name, fire lanterns being released and a train from Dunedin will be just a couple of the new features of the Oamaru Fire and Steam festival in May.

The festival, formerly known at Oamaru On Fire, will take place on Queen’s Birthday weekend in conjunction with the Oamaru Steampunk Festival.

The popularity of train trips to Oamaru over the last year has resulted in another being organised for the Steam and Fire festival.

Taieri Gorge Railway marketing manager Barbara Reid said it was something they always looked to do.

“We began running trains to Oamaru about three years ago and have looked to do so ever since because Oamaru is our neighbour and we want to support them but also because it’s a fantastic evening and people enjoyed themselves last year.”

Mrs Reid said the train only had room for 100 people.

“Anyone wanting tickets will have to get in quickly because, if it’s anything like previous years, then these tickets will go right away.”

The festival is now known as the Fire and Steam festival and is aiming to be more of a family affair.

Organiser Ian Elliott said organisers were looking at making it a bit different.

“Our goal this year is to make it as local and as family-orientated as possible because last year it was a bit of a party that finished early. We want something that the whole [family] will enjoy.”

Mr Elliott said organisers have been working hard with Sally Ann Donnelly and the Criterion Hotel to make sure that happens.

“Sally Ann has been a huge help and has jumped on board to help run it and it’s fantastic because she’s brought a number of great ideas to hopefully make it more family-based,” he said.

“I wasn’t here for the festival last year so I have no idea what it’s like, but we’re hoping people will enjoy it and that families are going to come along for a fun night out with different local acts being involved.”

Organisers wanted a festival that would fit in well in winter to go with the Victorian Heritage Festival, which falls in November.

“It’s our best way of getting people to the town and we are looking forward to the day to see how it goes and what can be changed to make it a successful event in years to come.

“It’s about us attracting more people to the area, more things to do and more time for people to enjoy it.”

The Fire and Steam evening will close with a mass release of fire lanterns.

The festival will take place in the Victorian Precinct on May 29 from 6.30-9pm, with the Steampunk festival from May 28-June 1.

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