Queenstown Winter Festival organisers are ''rapt'' with the
public's response to the 40th annual edition of the event.
Of the more than 60 events planned for the 10-day festival,
only the Slopestyle Invitational scheduled for the
Remarkables Ski Area yesterday had to be cancelled because of
the lack of snow on the mountains.
Instead the fine weather and relatively mild temperatures
encouraged thousands of people to take in the festival
Festival manager Lisa Buckingham said the 40th event marked
an important year for the festival and she had been thrilled
by the response from residents and visitors.
Most ticketed events had sold out and free events had drawn
big crowds - particularly the opening party and fireworks on
June 20 and yesterday's Community Carnival in downtown
''It's been a huge turnout this year.''
After a hiatus of a few years, the Comedy Night had been
following a survey of residents, and thanks to a sellout
crowd, would ''definitely'' be back next year, she said.
Coronet Peak was the scene of sporting contests of varying
degrees of seriousness on Saturday, with the Dash for Cash,
Suitcase Race and Musical Chairs events.
In the Dash for Cash, 13 entrants had to alternately ski or
board and run up, down or across the mountain and scramble
through netting in a kind of snowy multisport time trial,
while 39 brave people put their bodies as well as their
luggage on the line in the Suitcase Race, which required
contestants to slide down a course on increasingly battered
In Queenstown, children had an event just for them in the
Family Fun Day at the Queenstown Memorial Hall, complete with
puppet shows, face painting, art, beadmaking and
Saturday night's main attraction was the Mountain Scene
Thriller in the Chiller, in which 18 amateur boxers went head
to head in front of a sold-out crowd at the Queenstown Events
The event raised $24,000 for the Branches Charitable Trust,
taking the total raised in five years to more than $100,000.
On the same evening, local ice hockey team Southern Stampede
and Auckland's Botany Downs team played the second game of a
two-game series at the Queenstown Ice Arena, with the
visitors managing to tie the series after Southern Stampede's
9-7 win on Friday night.
The festival was brought to a close yesterday. The Community
Carnival brought big crowds into central Queenstown to sample
the diverse cuisines of the many cultures represented by the
town's residents at stalls run by charities, schools,
restaurants and cultural groups.