Festival hailed as one of the best

2018 Alexandra Blossom Festival queen Breigh Monaghan (centre) celebrates withfirst runner-up...
2018 Alexandra Blossom Festival queen Breigh Monaghan (centre) celebrates withfirst runner-up Susannah Rendall (left) and second runner-up Hayley Rubie on Saturday. Photo: Pam Jones
Festival-goers enjoy the Alexandra Blossom Festival entertainment at Pioneer Park on Saturday....
Festival-goers enjoy the Alexandra Blossom Festival entertainment at Pioneer Park on Saturday. Photos: Gerard O'Brien
Pipers lead the  Senior Queens float along Tarbert St during the Grand Parade on Saturday.
Pipers lead the Senior Queens float along Tarbert St during the Grand Parade on Saturday.
The Combined Lions Clubs of Alexandra & Clyde float ‘‘Rabbits Reprieve’’ with Princess Hayley Rubie.
The Combined Lions Clubs of Alexandra & Clyde float ‘‘Rabbits Reprieve’’ with Princess Hayley Rubie.
The Alexandra Men’s Shed float ‘‘The Wobbly Ducks’’ with Princess Susannah Rendall.
The Alexandra Men’s Shed float ‘‘The Wobbly Ducks’’ with Princess Susannah Rendall.
Sticks n Stones float ‘‘Be a Flamingo’’ with Princess Ariana Roger.
Sticks n Stones float ‘‘Be a Flamingo’’ with Princess Ariana Roger.
The Alexandra-Clyde RSA  float ‘‘Armistice’’ with Princess Breigh Monaghan.
The Alexandra-Clyde RSA float ‘‘Armistice’’ with Princess Breigh Monaghan.
Champion axeman Bobby Dowling of Invercargill demonstrates his underhand prowess.
Champion axeman Bobby Dowling of Invercargill demonstrates his underhand prowess.
All the fun of the fair as crowds packed  Pioneer Park on Saturday.
All the fun of the fair as crowds packed Pioneer Park on Saturday.
Skye Broberg, the  ‘‘Kitty Catwoman’’ amazed the crowds at Pioneer Park with her flexibility.
Skye Broberg, the ‘‘Kitty Catwoman’’ amazed the crowds at Pioneer Park with her flexibility.

Alexandra's annual spring festival looked more like summer at the  weekend, as crowds flocked to make the most of temperatures that reached almost 20degC.

Alexandra Blossom Festival organiser Martin McPherson said  "one of the best festivals yet" was enjoyed by a crowd of almost 10,000 on Saturday.

Eight competitive floats paraded  in the festival procession along with  florreys, non-competitive floats, pipe bands and other groups.

Alexandra Primary School won the prestigious people’s choice category with its colourful "Jurassic Park" float and the Combined Lions Clubs of Alexandra and Clyde won  the "most innovative and creative" category with their "Rabbits’ Reprieve" float, a nod to the cancellation of the annual Great Easter Bunny Hunt this year because of the introduction of  a new rabbit  virus.

After the procession, the crowd surged into  Pioneer Park for the traditional fun fair, stalls and to visit the large food,  wine and entertainment zone. The temperatures hit  19deg C during the afternoon.

The festival prizegiving ceremony included recognition of long-serving festival volunteer Dianne Elliot, who received the Jan Belt Memorial Prize.

A presentation was made to Mr Belt at the 2015 festival for his contribution to the event and he died several months later. The following year, the memorial prize was established  in his name, presented to  a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the festival.

Mrs Elliot had given decades of service to the festival, including being committee secretary and princess convener, Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan said.

Mrs Elliot said volunteers did not "do the job for recognition — we do it for the town, because we love it".

This year’s blossom festival queen is  Breigh Monaghan, representing the Alexandra-Clyde RSA "Armistice" float.

First runner-up was Susannah Rendall (Alexandra Men’s Shed "The Wobbly Ducks" float) and second runner-up was Hayley Rubie  (Lions clubs float).A police spokesman said police had a "relatively trouble-free" festival weekend.

One arrest was made for disorderly behaviour and that person will receive a pre-charge warning.

A few local youths were warned for drinking in the liquor-ban area.

Extra police were rostered on and Maori wardens and other community groups also assisted, Central Otago sub-area acting supervisor Detective Sergeant Derek Shaw said.

pam.jones@odt.co.nz

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