Heritage festivities on right track

Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton officially opens the Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations. Photo by Andrew Ashton.
Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton officially opens the Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations. Photo by Andrew Ashton.
Oamaru's annual Victorian Heritage Celebrations and Victorian Fete seem set to bring in bigger crowds than ever over the next three days, after the number of people travelling to Oamaru by train doubled from last year.

Yesterday, the Taieri Gorge Railway confirmed that 277 people had booked seats to travel from Dunedin or Palmerston to Oamaru for the Victorian Fete on Sunday.

Taieri Gorge Railway marketing manager Louise Burnside said bookings for the 299-seat passenger train had benefited from a 30% reduction in the train fare from $85 last year, to $59 return for adults travelling from Dunedin.

The train leaves Dunedin at 7.30am on Sunday and Palmerston at 9am and will be met by people wearing Victorian costumes, a highland pipe band and a film crew on arrival at the fete in Oamaru.

A competition for people wearing Victorian costume on the train trip to the Victorian Fete was being sponsored by the Taieri Gorge Railway, Ms Burnside said.

Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton officially opened heritage celebrations last night, and said the support being shown to the event by visitors from both Dunedin and overseas was "outstanding".

"The heritage celebrations have a status now nationwide and are recognised as the heritage celebrations to go to. We will be getting a large number of overseas visitors and those numbers are expanding each year.

"We look forward to another very successful four days of heritage celebrations and, of course, the Victorian celebrations on Sunday."

Tourism Waitaki events development officer Jan Kennedy said about 2000 people were expected to attend the celebrations.

andrew.ashton@odt.co.nz