Blossom Festival getting ready to spring into action

Alexandra's biggest annual event — the Blossom Festival — is still marked on the calendar, dependent on how New Zealand moves out of its Covid-19 restrictions.

Alexandra Blossom Festival event manager Martin McPherson said on Thursday he remained "optimistic, not confident", the September 25 to 27 event would go ahead.

"I’m still out there rattling cages and getting people on board."

While international events scheduled for the same time had been postponed or cancelled in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, he believed New Zealand’s response may have been effective enough to allow the festival to be staged as planned.

Mr McPherson had been instrumental in turning the fortunes of the festival around in his more than 10-year tenure as event manager and, at this point, he was not ready to let a virus break its stride.

"If we get out of the worst part and get through winter, we are going to need a big party, so for now it is business as usual."

Plans for the 2020 festival were continuing and were an opportunity to build on the success of the 2019 event, where record numbers of more than 15,000 people enjoyed the springtime celebrations.

The festival has marked the arrival of spring since 1957 and has run uninterrupted for 64 years.

The festival had weathered financial troubles and was close to ruin a decade ago, but had been brought back from the brink to become New Zealand’s longest running event of its kind.

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