SHARE
Lively lot . . . Folk dancers were among the many street performers at the fete. PHOTO: HAMISH MACLEAN

“What a great day,” Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust operations manager Mark Smith said of Sunday’s Victorian Fete.

The trust, which owns most of the historic buildings in the Victorian Precinct, runs the fete as the culmination of the Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations.

“It’s a major fundraiser for the OWCT,” Dr Smith said. “It helps to maintain these beautiful buildings that are the face of Oamaru. They show Victorian grandeur and are quite literally of this earth.

“Many, many volunteers gave their time and ideas for this fete.”

It was his first fete since being hired by the trust. He paid tribute to his predecessor, Faye Ormandy, for creating the successful formula.

Dr Smith acknowledged the input of Frances Mcmillan and John Baster, who organised details including the layout of about 120 stalls and the entertainment line-up.

“It was well planned,” Dr Smith said.

Satellite technology was used to ensure there was space for everything and congestion was minimised.

It was difficult to know how many people attended, because children had free entry and so did the stallholders, their helpers, and the team of volunteers. However, more than 2500 people paid their entry fee at the gates.

Some said the crowd was larger than previous years while others said it was smaller, Dr Smith said.

The accounts were still being tallied, but it looked to have been “a good fundraiser”.

“We’ve got a budget and we’re on track.”

He was delighted the weather was fine and mild – “after the week we’d had”.

He had enjoyed mixing with the crowds that arrived “from all over”, as well as local residents, and seeing everyone appreciate the attractions that filled Tyne and Harbour Sts.

It was also gratifying to see the Victorian Wardrobe earn plenty of trade and admiration, Dr Smith said. It was run by volunteers who had collected a vast array of period costumes and offered them for hire.

Tourism Waitaki event co-ordinator Brooke Kofoed said “everything went really well” throughout the Victorian Heritage Celebrations.

There were comments that fewer people attended than in previous years, which could have been due to the earthquakes earlier in the week and bad weather for the first two days of events.

One European visitor told her the street parade on Saturday morning was the best he had seen, free from commercial interests.