Brides and boxer entertain Queenstown crowds

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Brides, boxers and business men filled Queenstown streets this morning (Saturday) as day two of Winter Festival kicks off. 

Thousands of spectators lined the footpaths to watch the Frontrunner Golden Mile – where competitors run a mile around CBD streets in a quest for the fastest time – followed by the American Express Festival Parade. 

An eclectic bunch of Frontrunner competitors braved the slippery road conditions – some to in a bid to win the title and others for a bit of fun. 

New Brighton Olympics Running Team member Daniel Blachin took out the mile race in four minutes 30 seconds. 

“I’m stoked to win, it such a great occasion and we were lucky the rain held off for the race.” 

While Emma Smith took out the women’s divison with a time of six minutes 22 seconds.

Julia Blanchard - a ‘runaway bride’dressed in a wedding gown and veil – says she had a great time. 

“I had the front hitched up and my train fallowing in the wind.” 

“There was no one around me so I was able to billow my dress, like a marshmallow,” she says. 

Local Paul Faulkiner says it was an excruciating experience. 

“It was very painful; I thought I was going to throw up a number of times but in saying that I would definitely do it again.” 

The Frontrunner was followed by the annual street parade where thousands of spectators were entertained by a procession of 25 community and cooperate floats.

“Everything from pole-dancers to bumble-bees, it was fantastic,” Wellingtonian Kendall Smith says.
 
Festival boss Simon Green says he was delighted with the turnout.

“It was great to see such strong representation from local businesses, and the Ice Age 4 characters Sid and Scrat were an absolute hit with the kids.”

Queenstown Preschool was awarded the prize for best community float by Queenstown Lakes District Council Arts and Events Facilitator Jan Maxwell for its Manny and the Hunters float. 

While Shotover Jet and Southern Discoveries will share the coveted business section Ngai Tahu Trophy after both were announced winners.

Meanwhile one of Winter Festival’s highlights the Birdman has been postponed until tomorrow (Sunday) due to rough weather conditions. 

The event – which involves contestants jumping off a make-shift wharf into Lake Wakatipu – will be held at 2pm tomorrow (Sunday).

Winter Festival boss Simon Green says the Mountain Bikes on snow race has also been postponed to tomorrow (Sunday) at 11am because Coronet Peak ski area is closed. 

Tonight stars and special guests in town for the New Zealand premiere of the new ‘Ice Age 4 – Continental Drift’ movie will hit the Blue Carpet down The Mall to Reading Cinema from 6pm to 7pm.

The Southern Stampede take on the West Auckland Admirals ice hockey team at Queenstown Ice Arena from 7pm. The Comedy Gala is at Memorial Hall from 8pm.