Festival hailed a great success

Rubber ducks in the Arrowtown Autumn Festival's duck race were cheered on by a large crowd which lined the Arrow River yesterday. Photo by Christina McDonald.
Rubber ducks in the Arrowtown Autumn Festival's duck race were cheered on by a large crowd which lined the Arrow River yesterday. Photo by Christina McDonald.
''It's those wee things'' which make the Arrowtown Autumn Festival so successful, committee chairman Lex Perkins said of the event which celebrated its 30th anniversary this year and finished for another autumn yesterday.

Those small events in the programme, such as the guided historical and tree talks, drew big groups of people and keep the small village of Arrowtown the focus of the festival, he said.

''We have got to be very careful with the future of the festival to keep it as it is and that we don't have too many changes,'' Mr Perkins, who is also the Arrowtown-ward councillor, said yesterday.

The 30th anniversary festival's final celebration was the Arrow's Gold variety event held from 7.30pm last night.

Earlier yesterday, it was a successful second day of the duck-shooting season for the Arrowtown Junior Rugby Club, even if the ducks were plastic.

The club benefited from a rubber duck race fundraiser in the Arrow River.

Before the Masterchef final last night, finalist Jaimie Stodler's duck sailed into second place.

Many others got stuck in shallow water and required a helping hand.

Aside from the events such as the duck race, which ''make the big picture'', Mr Perkins credited the timing of this year's festival and the Easter and Anzac Day public holidays.

''We had a large number of people from the North Island who took a 10-day holiday and a lot ended up in Arrowtown.''

''That really increased numbers for us,'' he said, adding that ''without a doubt'' the main day of the festival, Saturday April 26, had the biggest autumn festival crowd he had seen.

Festival director Toni Stockham said overall the festival was ''very successful'', having been well attended by both locals and visitors.

Mr Perkins said the ''thousands'' of out-of-town visitors who saw any part of the 11-day festival would more than likely tell others about Arrowtown.

''The power of the people is probably the best advertising you can get.''