Weekend festivals exceed expectations

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People from all over the country converged on Oamaru over the weekend to celebrate Oamaru on Fire, Steampunk and The Fringe Festival.

Tourism Waitaki event development officer Jan Kennedy, who played a large role in helping get Oamaru on Fire ready in time for Friday evening, said it was absolutely superb.

“The whole evening was just fantastic. I have heard nothing but good things from people and we are glad they enjoyed what we had to offer.”

While final numbers aren’t exact yet, Mrs Kennedy is confident they will be much higher than the 2000 people through the gates over the previous two years.

“Into its third year, initial indications are that Oamaru on Fire numbers are significantly up on previous years.

“The organisers put together an ambitious programme of fire themed entertainment; building upon the successful elements of previous years with a greater arts and lighting focus,” Mrs Kennedy said.

In previous years, the support had mainly come from locals, but this year, Mrs Kennedy was confident about half of the people at Oamaru on Fire were from out of town.

“The potential of this event to become an identifiable marketing brand for Oamaru is becoming a reality. Oamaru was transformed into a party town on Friday night; it was a wonderful spectacle. I’m looking forward to next year already.”

Meanwhile, Steampunk festival co-ordinator Helen Jansen said the event had exceeded her expectations.

“We have had hundreds of people here for the festival and I have a feeling we are going to have to turn people away from the fashion show, which we didn’t expect to do.

“We had people from Whangarei and Invercargill attend this. The dinner and the teapot racing and airship racing were just awesome; people were so involved. The racing took an hour and a half and they had that much fun.

“I’m already looking forward to next year and seeing how we can improve the event,” Ms Jansen said.

Both Ms Jansen and Mrs Kennedy were confident the events would continue to increase in popularity.

By BRAYDEN LINDSAY

PHOTO: CAROL EDWARDS

TREMENDOUS TRIO: Andrew and Pamela Barnes and Warren Beaton were having a great time at the Steampunk Racing Mess Dinner and  airship and teapot racing at the Oamaru Club on Saturday night.