Car and plane event geared for take-off

Martin McPherson.
Martin McPherson.
A new Wings and Wheels event to be held on Alexandra Blossom Festival Sunday this year could be ''bigger than Ben-Hur'', festival event manager Martin McPherson says.

The event has just been announced by Central Otago Wings and Wheels, a new entity comprised of Central Otago Flying Club and Central Otago Rod and Custom Club members.

It was expected to attract about 80 aircraft and 400-500 cars, flying club vice-president and Wings and Wheels committee member Steve Whitren said.

Static displays of the aircraft and cars would be held, as well as flying displays of the aircraft, Mr Whitren said.

A display permit for the aircraft would be sought, which would allow them to fly.

Mr Whitren said the event would be a good replacement for the previous drag racing held on the blossom festival Sunday.

The drag racing was not held last year after the event failed to secure an on-licence.

A Southern Dragways spokesman said the club might look at holding a similar event on another weekend, but it was probably a ''no go''.

The idea for the Wings and Wheels had arisen from a ''casual conversation'' with Mr McPherson about having a flying club open day on blossom festival Sunday, Mr Whitren said.

The club had then been talking to the Rod and Custom Club, which was planning to hold a car show about several weeks after the blossom festival.

''It seemed to make perfect sense for us to combine them and have a family day up at the airport,'' Mr Whitren said.

He said the emphasis would be on the ''family nature'' of the event and it would be alcohol-free, featuring market, food and trade stalls, entertainment and children's activities.

The entry fee was being kept deliberately low at $10 per adult and free for school children.

All profit would be donated to the Alexandra St John.

Mr McPherson said the event was a ''very welcome addition to the [blossom festival] programme. I think it will be huge. It could be bigger than Ben-Hur''.

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