Three projects reach timely fruition

The Glenorchy community, population 450, is on the countdown to its sesquicentennial celebrations, and has raised $350,000 from grants, donations and community contributions for three significant projects.

The Glenorchy lagoon walkway has been extended by 1.7km and the historical Glenorchy library has been restored to its original condition.

A heritage trail around the town, to identify historical buildings, is scheduled to open during Labour Weekend.

"Amazing combined efforts from businesses and locals in the community" meant the three projects were ready to open simultaneously, lagoon walkway co-ordinator and spokeswoman Vladka Kennett said.

The celebrations committee had been planning the 150th celebrations for three years and the entire community was in the final preparations for the weekend, which included the beard-growing competition with its judging and shave-off, and lessons in old-time dancing. The lessons would be held at the local hall.

"A cavalcade of gold-miners will ride into town to officially welcome [Queenstown Lakes Mayor] Vanessa van Uden to Glenorchy on Labour Weekend [October 22].

"Richard Kennett will be their leader and will read a message of goodwill to the Mayor from an old-fashioned scroll.

Keith Springer, who initiated the Glenorchy lagoon walkway 15 years ago, would officially open the extended boardwalk, and well-known 92-year-old local Mary Aitken would open the library, Mrs Kennett said.

The committee hoped many Wakatipu residents and those from further afield would join the community in the many events planned.

These included a 1950s-themed dance and heritage dinner, a historical display, a "picnic in paradise" day, food stalls, a DVD about the building of the Glenorchy Rd and a "one-off trip around the head of the lake on TSS Earnslaw".

Visitors were encouraged to dress in period costume and be transported to "days gone by".

The Head of the Lake 150th celebrations will be marked from October 19 to 22.