Festival needs you

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Winter Festival organisers are calling on Wakatipu residents to sign up as volunteers or enter themselves as competitors. 

The 10-day bash features dozens of wacky events that’ll delight racers and exhibitionists. 

They include downhill races in suitcases, roar-like-a-stag contests, the ever-popular Birdman and the Undy 500. And organisers are encouraging Queenstowners to again step up, both as competitors and volunteers. 

Last year, 90 per cent of residents got involved, whether competing, volunteering or just attending events. 

Winter Festival’s Jono Suther-land says: “We’ve just opened the majority of the events for entry now and some have filled up really quickly. 

“We also need volunteers.” 

The Birdman event sees competitors attempt to fly from a makeshift pier in Queenstown Bay – before inevitably plunging into the icy waters of Lake Wakatipu. 

“You see all sorts of costumes for the Birdman – everything from the Earnslaw to Combi vans. 

“Some spend more than 20 hours on their costumes.” 

So far, 35 are signed up as volunteers but festival needs 120. 

The Suitcase Race is part of Mountain Mayhem at Coronet Peak on the second Saturday, which also features the Dash for Cash, Snow Dig and Musical Chairs. 

Sutherland says: “I’ve competed the last couple of years – making the final both times. 

“I’m sceptical about giving out tips to the competition, but it’s all about your suitcase. 

“You can go for an old leather case but you have to really wax it up with ski wax. Last year I used a modern plastic one, waxed with the enamel stuff that cleans your car, but it didn’t really work.” 

Other events include the Dodgeball Champs, Festival Parade, downhill mountain bike race at Coronet Peak and the Frontrunner Golden Mile. 

So far 22 of 30 Dodgeball slots are taken plus 10 parade floats. 

It’s expected more than 60,000 people will pass through for festival, now in its 38th year. 

To volunteer or enter, go to winterfestival.co.nz.