Autumn’s new colour


Arrowtown festival painted silver in 25th year.

Arrowtown Autumn Festival’s first secretary is still married to the annual community event as it celebrates its 25th year.

Kate Longworth moved to the town in 1985, when Ross Martin and Ray Currie – both now deceased – organised the inaugural festival to boost business.

She volunteered to be secretary-treasurer of the fest­­ival association the next year and stayed onboard till 1997.

Longworth, 60, is no longer formally involved but has this year donated her 1970s wedding dress for a bridal fashion parade – one of 85 events scheduled for the 10-day do that starts tomorrow.

Both she and secretary Julie Hughes, full-time festival coordinator since 2003, reckon the locals’ event has changed plenty since those early days.

“One of the first festivals, we went into Macetown with 4WDs and tractors,” recalls Longworth.

“We didn’t apply for any consents, we just did it.”

Hughes says she could never get away now with organising some of the old events.

“They had re-enactments in the river with horse and carts, and lolly scrambles from helicopters – you can’t even do lolly scrambles from parades nowadays.”

Past memories have been captured in a new DVD called Going For Gold, screening daily till April 26 at Dorothy Browns Cinema, and a tribute booklet.

A silver jubilee evening next Saturday will commemorate past members of the festival society – including recently deceased pioneers Kevin Lynch, Ray Currie and Trevor Hollebon – and festival volunteers. 


Top 5 festival hits


1. Festival Day 

Includes comedy show, vintage car rally, gold panning, fashion show and live music. 

Saturday, April 18 from 10am, central Arrowtown, gold coin donation





2. Brides Through the Ages

Local lasses model wedding gowns from the late 1800s to present day.

Recent brides vie for Bride of the Year and brides-to-be can enter a comp to win a $3000 prize package. 

Monday, April 20 at 7.30pm, Arrowtown Hall, $20






3. Evening with Richard Till 

TV chef of the hit series Kiwi Kitchen shows you how to cook a BBQ meal and other favourites. 

Thursday, April 23 at 7.30pm, Arrowtown Hall, $15

To be in to win a double pass to Richard Till’s cooking demo,






4. 1980s Evening 

Find your leather tie and blue eye-shadow for a 1980s costume party. Five acts 
lip-synch to 80s hits – then it’s time to dance. 

Friday, April 24 from 7pm, Arrowtown Hall, $25 single or $200 for table of 10






5. Great Arrowtown Variety Concert 

Best acts of the week – including tutu-wearing rugby players – for festival finale. Unsung Hero award also presented. 

Sunday, April 26 at 7.30pm, Arrowtown Hall, $12