The entertainment line-up and overall focus of Oamaru's 2012 Victorian Heritage Celebrations will return to its roots with a focus on the rural community and its contribution to modern Oamaru, says the organising committee chairman.
Peter Amyes said: "The week of celebrations is our annual salute to the forefathers of the community.
"The committee has gone back to the roots of the wealth from the area, the farming community, and we will recreate some of the rural scenes and activities of the period.
"We will also offer a dip into the military aspects of Victorian life."
Opening night on Thursday is certainly set to go with a bang when mad scientist Delbert Frooth invites everyone to share in his noisy, smoky and sometimes smelly quest to create gold.
The celebrations will also include an opening at 6pm by Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton.
From 7.30pm, Heritage Race Night at The Jolly Tapley (aka the Scottish Hall in Tyne St) will offer a chance for discerning gentlemen to have a flutter on the Calcutta board or chance their arm with Crown and Anchor dice, cribbage or two-up and be refreshed by fine ales and food which will be available for purchase.
For the ladies only, the Colonial Lady's Guide to Etiquette, Elegance and Efficiency at Annie's Victorian Tearooms from 7.30pm is sure to provide an insight into life of a colonial lady.
On Friday, the Cafe Promenade offers an opportunity to dress in Victorian costume, stroll along Thames St and to marvel at the shop windows which will be decked out in Victorian splendour, join the Great Photo Opportunity on the steps of the Oamaru Opera House at 12.15pm or sample a little Madeira M'Dear, served along with Victorian parlour games at the Early Settlers' Hall, from 10am to 2pm.
In the afternoon, the Victorian Garden Party from 2.30pm at the Oamaru Gardens Band Rotunda offers music, fine food and silver service.
The Grand Ball on Friday evening, November 16, promises an evening of decorous dancing, delightful delicacies and drinks and plenty of style with Victorian gowns for the ladies and dinner suits or military uniforms for the gentlemen.
Limited tickets are available.
Saturday is the penultimate day of the 2012 celebrations and the programme promises a variety of events, including the working vintage machinery display in the Victorian Precinct from noon; the Oamaru Bicycle Polo Tournament at the "Polodrome" between the Loan and Merc building from 1pm; the Oamaru Mail Grand Street Parade, which starts at Tyne St at 10.30am; the 18th Heritage Bicycle Championship, including the Tyne St Grunter; and a period military display complete with firing muskets at the Military Black Powder Camp, between the Precinct and the sea.
The Military Black Powder Camp and the Working Vintage Machinery Display will also be held on Sunday.
Not to be missed on Saturday evening is Widow Corney's Workhouse Shindig at the Scottish Hall in Tyne St.
The "workhouse" will open at 7.30pm and the music starts at 8pm.
According to Mr Amyes, the event is unique in New Zealand and international visitors are just blown away by the spectacle.
"I hope everyone enjoys all that is laid on for your pleasure and participation and are happy to return again in the future with friends and family," he said.