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It would be a crime to miss it . . . Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations chairwoman Marise Martin urges everyone to pick up a programme and join in the fun. PHOTO: SALLY BROOKER

Entertainment opportunities are bursting out of this year’s Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations programme.

The new format aimed at ease of use unfolds to reveal a huge line-up of activities taking place in the third week of November. The 2017 theme of Crime and Punishment has lent itself to many interpretations, from public trials to murder mysteries and a rogues’ gallery to sideshow scams.

The celebrations are put together by a small committee of volunteers, with support from Tourism Waitaki. Chairwoman Marise Martin said it the committee was delighted with the variety it had amassed.

There are nine events with prizes available to the public, 30 that are free to attend, and another 30 for which tickets are for sale.

“No matter what somebody’s tastes are or their budgets or their interests, there is something for them – from side-splitting comedy to academic to upper-crust,” Mrs Martin said.

“The theme may appear a little gruesome to some, but it offers a unique look back at where we have come from.

“Bring the children out, bring Grandma out, there’s going to be something for everyone. We’re absolutely aimed at involving all of us in this great community activity.

“The committee acknowledges that as a community, we have moved on – we’re a glorious melting pot of ethnicities. We hope to see all of them taking part.”

Dressing in period costume was completely optional, Mrs Martin said.

“If you do choose to dress up, it increases the pleasure.”

The celebrations’ grand opening takes the form of a mayoral reception at Whitestone City on November 16. Entertainment will be provided by The Pearl and Dagger Company, comprising Sydney and Wellington musicians, singers and actors. They are also performing at the Oamaru Opera House and Brydone Hotel during the festivities.

“They’re very, very acclaimed,” Mrs Martin said.

Another highlight promises to be the Friday morning promenade. Now dubbed “Turmoil on Thames”, it features world-renowned town crier Paddy-Ann Pemberton, music and street theatre, the town stocks and plenty of participation from the shopkeepers.

“The celebrations committee is really excited about involving all the main street retailers,” Mrs Martin said.

Details on buying tickets for the events and hiring Victorian costumes are on the front page of the programme, which is available at the Oamaru i-Site and many public places.