Capsule buried, whiskers judged as party ends

The Buckingham Belles, who judged the Arrowtown beard-growing contest yesterday, took a liking to Keith Stirling's beard and declared him overall winner. Photo by Olivia Caldwell.
The Buckingham Belles, who judged the Arrowtown beard-growing contest yesterday, took a liking to Keith Stirling's beard and declared him overall winner. Photo by Olivia Caldwell.
Hundreds turned out in Arrowtown and Glenorchy yesterday to see the final events of a long weekend of celebrations.

In Arrowtown, a crowd witnessed the placement of the long-awaited time-capsule. The capsule, on a site beside the Arrow River, commemorates the Arrow Gold 150 weekend and will be opened in 50 years' time so the next generation can include some extra items.

Inside the capsule is an Arrowtown Primary school roll, photos from the weekend, photos of the area, a list of ratepayers, an Otago Daily Times, a cellphone, gold coins and a couple of payslips.

Arrowtown ward councillor Lex Perkins lowered the capsule and said a few words on behalf of the town.

Arrowtown Gold 150 organiser Julie Hughes said the weekend had gone to plan and had been "absolutely magical".

"We are very lucky to be in the place we live. The community 'feel' is like no other and it is so important we retain it."

Keith Stirling, of Arrowtown, won the prize for best overall beard in Arrowtown for his impressive silver beard.

At the head of Lake Wakatipu, folk either arrived at Glenorchy on horseback with suit tails and dresses dancing in the wind or by a more modern form of transport, to fill the Glenorchy Waterfront Reserve for the last day of the celebration of 150 years of European settlement in the district.

Arriving in a 1928 Cadillac, Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden listened as fourth-generation Glenorchy resident Richard Kennett talked about the early years.

Sometimes rats "were of plague proportions" and travel was "very difficult and dangerous, by boat, bridle track or dray along rough tracks".

"But we survived and slowly flourished."

Mr Kennett mentioned the "looming fight with bureaucracy" the village faces to stop a proposed tunnel between the Routeburn and Hollyford Valleys.

Following the speech, beard-growing efforts were judged, muscles were strained during the tug-of-war, a group photo was taken, the extended Glenorchy lagoon trail was opened and the refurbished library was officially opened.

John Richards won the prize for best beard at the Glenorchy competition. He said he would not be shaving it off any time soon. On July 1, the Kinloch man shaved his 30-year-old beard off for the cause, describing his sacrifice as "scary" and "horrible".

"It's just back to normal [now] - I've had this all my life."