Penny-farthing pursuits set Victoriana scene

Russell (left) and Lorna Fleming, of Manawatu and Karen Robinson, of Christchurch, enjoy a game...
Russell (left) and Lorna Fleming, of Manawatu and Karen Robinson, of Christchurch, enjoy a game of croquet. PHOTOS: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD/GERARD O’BRIEN
Zoe Francis (13, left) and Lakiea Bungard (12), of Weston, relax on the grass.
Zoe Francis (13, left) and Lakiea Bungard (12), of Weston, relax on the grass.
Doreen Stackhouse, of Oamaru, pours tea.
Doreen Stackhouse, of Oamaru, pours tea.
Holly Dickson (14), of Oamaru, does the rounds with her tray of sandwiches.
Holly Dickson (14), of Oamaru, does the rounds with her tray of sandwiches.
Keith McQuillan carefully pushes his wares across Thames St yesterday.
Keith McQuillan carefully pushes his wares across Thames St yesterday.

Oamaru's annual Victorian Heritage Celebrations are in full swing.

The event, themed differently each year, was officially launched by Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher and celebrations committee chairwoman Diane Lee at a gathering outside the Oamaru Opera House on Thursday.

This year's theme is "wheels", so it is fitting one of the more eagerly anticipated and crowd-friendly events will be held today, the 25th heritage cycle championships.

That will involve riders atop their penny-farthings competing in slalom, relays and slow races, as well as a gut-busting pedal up Tyne St.

Before that is the Victorian street parade, from noon today. It starts at the Victorian precinct and finishes in lower Thames St and features all manner of Victoriana, including, as described in the celebrations programme, "costumes, fun and frivolity".

Other events today include the historical fashion show, at the Scottish Hall, and the Oamaru Challenge Cup rowing race, on Oamaru Harbour.

The celebrations wrap up tomorrow with the Victorian fete in the town's Victorian precinct, which is something of a haven for those in period costume.

Entertainment on offer features puppeteers, street performers, stilt walkers any plenty more.

The fete runs 10am-4pm.

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