Four-day fest ‘works’

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Reptile projectile: Julien Facci, of Queenstown, and Mitchell Rawson, of Australia, are neck and neck in the bobsleigh race at Coronet Peak on Saturday, while Queenstown's Corey Sinteur dressed as a Mexican is in the rear. PHOTO: OTAGO DAILY TIMES

Queenstown WinterFest’s boss has given the shortened four-day event the thumbs up.

Festival director Lisa Buckingham says: “I feel the four-day programme really worked. It has been an amazing atmosphere and the buzz around town has been good.

“We have had loads of locals out and about enjoying festival but also a good mix of visitors who have embraced it, too.”

Organisers will seek feedback to see whether Winter Festival would remain a four-day event, rather than the previous 10 days.

The shortened event drew to a close yesterday after four days of shenanigans in the resort’s town centre and at Coronet Peak skifield near Arthurs Point.

There was also music, dancing, semi-nakedness, snow adventures, ice-sculpting, a spot of mulled wine and a truck load of enthusiasm.

Queenstown youngster Sofia Taquet performed yesterday as part of Carnival day on the Beach St stage.

The 13-year-old told the Otago Daily Times it was exciting to be part of the event.

“It was really nice because all my friends came [to watch]. I was really nervous when I got up there but then I really enjoyed it.”

Locals also got involved in the Duck Race on Horne Creek, turned out for the Walking Parade and listened to live music from The Phoenix Foundation and local Arrowtown musos Isla and Finley Brentwood.

On Saturday the annual Day on the Bay attracted a lot of spectators, a mix of locals and visitors.

Alex Radley, winner of the male Undy 500 race, said he flew in from Auckland specifically to take part.

The 24-year-old used argy-bargy tactics to get ahead of the pack when completing the obstacle course on Queenstown Bay which included a dip in Lake Wakatipu.

”I pushed and shoved and used some rugby shoulders out there. It was good fun and to place first feels pretty good.”

The was also a parapenting display.

Queenstowner Craig Taylor thrilled the crowd when he abandoned his first chute and switched to his back-up one.

After landing on a raft in the lake he told the ODT it was a tactical move to entertain those watching below.

Other locals were keen to get involved in the action.

Queenstown Volunteer Fire Brigade took part in the Birdman competition.

Four volunteers danced along to Hurry Hurry Drive the Firetruck, with a cardboard fire engine, before stripping to their undies and jumping into the Lake.

Volunteer Jesse Johnston said it was a learning curve.

”It was great fun but from now on we know that fire trucks don’t float,” he said, laughing.

The programme also included several sporting events.

Queenstown’s SkyCity Stampede had a cracking weekend with two gutsy wins over Auckland’s Botany Swarm at Queenstown Ice Arena.

The home side won 6-2 on Friday and 8-0 on Saturday as part of the New Zealand Ice Hockey League.

Otago Daily Times