After more than a century, the draw of the Lake Hayes A&P Show’s showing little sign of waning.
The 107th show was held in perfect conditions on Saturday at the Lake Hayes showgrounds, where thousands of people turned out to get their fill of fair-ground attractions, face paint, food and fun.
It’s the first time the show’s been held since 2021 — last year’s event was scuppered due to Covid restrictions.
On Saturday, there was barely a cloud in the sky, making the gazebos and tents popular hang-out spots from which to check out the action on the main stage and in the main ring where, along with a host of traditional equestrian classes, some new additions featured.
After the Grand Parade, which included Dames Jools and Lynda Topp, who performed two shows during the day, participants eagerly lined up for a new event in the main ring: hobby horsing.
Originating in Finland, where it’s recognised as an official sport, the inaugural hobby horse class proved both competitive and popular, with representatives from Hato Hone St John, NZ Police and Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Fenz) participating, along with about 10 others in the “open” class, designed for the young at heart.
Straddling wooden sticks with horse heads affixed — and, when they ran out, brooms or mops — entrants had to navigate several ground-height “jumps”, while being judged on their conformation, technique, suitability and presentation.
While the Fenz representative, Arrowtown volunteer firey Todd Weeks, seemed to be running interference with other competitors — particularly targeting the police rep — it was St John’s Kaj Christensen whose flair with his imaginary horse earned him the bragging rights and the specially made red ribbon.
Lake County A&P Society president Pip Norton says about 4500 people attended the show, which was on par with attendance in previous years.
However, traffic congestion and parking issues were much reduced thanks to many who opted to use public transport, bike or walk to the show grounds.
Waste was also hugely reduced as the show took its first steps to becoming waste-free within the next three years, thanks to sponsorship from Queenstown Airport.
Along with a “mug library”, replacing takeaway coffee cups, DISHrupt, run by Sustainable Queenstown, brought in reusable plates and utensils.
Norton says that was “pretty amazing”.
“Looking at the bins, the rubbish is just so much less than what it’s ever been before.
“We obviously had rubbish, but nowhere near as much as we’ve had before.
“DISHrupt were absolutely amazing … and all of the food vendors were really on board to make it work.
“Obviously, we weren’t waste-free, but we’ve certainly reduced it … and it’s great to be on track to be waste-free in three years’ time.”
- Otago Daily Times