125th marked with show, train rides, family fun day

Pie, parades and partying marked Ranfurly’s 125th birthday celebrations at the weekend.

Starting on Friday night with the first lighting of the town’s massive Christmas tree and birthday cake, the events kept coming during the weekend.

The Blue Skies Perspective art exhibition, showcasing work by Maniototo artists, was opened on Friday night by acclaimed painter Sir Grahame Sydney and drew crowds all weekend.

Ranfurly 125 family fun day convener Shirley Clarke could not stop smiling as the day unfolded.

December 1 marked 125 years since the first train rolled into Ranfurly, she said.

‘‘We’re here for the rail.’’

The only train running on Saturday was Noddy’s one, operated by Maniototo Lions Club member Eric Swinburn.

It might have been a little smaller and slower than the one that arrived 125 years ago but it was enormously popular.

Savouring their success at the Ranfurly 125 apple pie contest are professional section winner...
Savouring their success at the Ranfurly 125 apple pie contest are professional section winner Danielle Mihill (left), of Naseby, and amateur class winner Sal Byrne, of Ranfurly. PHOTO: SHANNON THOMSON
More than 1000 people attended the family fun day on Saturday.

There were market stalls and food vendors with goods for sale but everything else on the day was free, thanks to sponsors and the amazing Ranfurly community, Ms Clarke said.

Old-fashioned games, organised by Maniototo Area School staff, were popular as were the bouncy castle and bucking bronco, while the grand parade — featuring everything from a Model A truck to a mobile mai mai — drew everyone to the centre of the showgrounds.

The Great Ranfurly Bake-Off was popular and more than 20 pies were entered.

The judges, chef Michael Coughlin and author Matt Chisholm, took their roles seriously, Mr Coughlin creating a scoring sheet.

Their roles were hotly contested, Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan saying he had offered to judge the contest but had been turned down.

After the fun day, a 1920s-themed gala dinner was attended by nearly 200 people on Saturday night.

Yesterday started with a church service followed by the opening of the community orchard and a cricket match, where Ranfurly took on The World.