A series of wacky events kept thousands of spectators at Queenstown waterfront entertained on day three of Winter Festival.
The sun brought some comfort to competitors in the annual Birdman – involving contestants jumping from a make-shift bridge into Lake Wakatipu – and the Day on the Bay, where swimmers braved the water and ran half naked along the beach.
Ten teams performing acts in an array of different costumes entered the wacky Birdman competition this year.
Queenstown freight company Pack & Send, took out both the overall Birdman prize and the corporate prize.
The team of four went home with $1500 worth of advertising from MediaWorks and four Flight of the Conchords tickets.
The team who appeared from a cardboard tank dressed as the Wiggles each plunged into the chilly lake on a pair of skis, tricycle and finally in the tank itself.
Boss of Pack & Send Greig Garthwaite says after a disappointing result at last year’s Birdman, the team wasn’t going to let it happen again.
“There were some good teams today but we certainly had to come out with a vengeance this year, there were some late nights and early mornings getting the tank ready and prepared.
“That’s what I think won it this year for us – the Wiggles theme – it’s a family day down at the park here.”
Garthwaite says the team almost didn’t make it to the event this morning.
“Two of our guys in our team pulled out so these guys were called out of bed at the last hour to join the team, so there was very little preparation.”
The $500 Best Individual prize went to the 2011 reigning champs – Team Orange with their “Flight of the Conchords” act.
The team dressed in orange morph suits and began the act with the Flight of the Concords “Business Time” song which faded into a dance routine of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies”.
Queenstown Health’s “Aerobics Gone Wrong” routine won third runner-up in the corporate category and a $200 Ballarat Trading Co. bar voucher.
Second runner-up went to Queenstown Pole Dance Studio’s team of four women who helped hype the thousands of spectators by pole-dancing in bikinis before jumping into the chilly lake.
The team of four won a $300 Pub on Wharf voucher.
Winter Festival director Simon Green says he praises all the “good sports” who entered the races.
“These events always draw a big crowd and today our competitors put on some priceless entertainment.”
From midday Queenstown foreshore was pumping with activity with the Day on the Bay.
Queenstown Thunder Jet boat driver Kylie Tomlin was the first woman ever to win the Jet Sprints event – featuring the best of local jet boat drivers - on Lake Wakatipu with the fastest overall time of 1min 4 sec.
Local Paula Barker won first place in the women’s Splash and Dash race – a 50 metre swim followed by a sprint down the beach – but says she was off to the pub to share the $250 prize money with the two other competitors in the race.
“We just did the paddle board race and realised no women were in the Splash and Dash race, so we entered,” she says.
“I’m going to share my prize money with the girls down at the pub now.”
American Nick Farrell won the men’s Splash and Dash race by default as a fellow competitor failed to complete the course correctly.
“It all turned out well considering I thought I was going to be last,” Farrell says.
Competition became aggressive in the Undy 500 where contestants ran a course on the beach in their underwear.
Southlander Eva Brown took out the women’s race but not without some war wounds on her legs.
“I was saying ‘I was going to do it’ and was about to pull out this morning – but my friends made me do it, it was totally worth the war wounds,” she says.