As the years roll by, the Victorian Fete just gets better

Thea Davis (8) of Dunedin enjoys a  toffee apple at the Victorian Fete in Oamaru yesterday. Photo...
Thea Davis (8) of Dunedin enjoys a toffee apple at the Victorian Fete in Oamaru yesterday. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
The Victorian Precinct yesterday provided the perfect backdrop for Oamaru's annual Victorian Fete, as an estimated 5000 people attended the town's annual salute to its heritage.

Even the Wizard of Christchurch Ian Brackenbury Channell was hard to spot among the plethora of Victorian-style kilts, top hats, corsets and petticoats on show.

• Slideshow: Victorian Fete in Oamaru

''I've been coming here every years for at least 15 years. There's nothing like this anywhere in New Zealand.''

He said the fact the fete had been created to help preserve Oamaru's Victorian and heritage buildings was behind the event's longevity.

''The people put so much effort into restoring this area.''

The Victorian Fete was organised by the Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust, and this year included a beard and moustache competition, whistling competition and choral performance.

Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust chairman Marcus Brown said the even had gone ''tremendously well''.

Mr Brown said the 25th anniversary of the fete had made this year ''pretty special''.

''Obviously, we were a bit nervous early on with the threat of rain, but the expectations are it's going to be in line with numbers we have had in previous years.''

He added that he was particularly pleased with the diversity of entertainers on show. And the contribution both locals and foreign visitors had made on the day in making an effort to dress for the part had been very impressive.

''I have been staggered by the number of people from overseas, and they have all hired costumes, so they have gone to the Victorian Wardrobe and they are really jumping into the spirit of the event.''

One ''subtle'' change to past events was the decision to employ a paid organiser this year, he said.

''The is our biggest and our main fundraiser, so it's important we go about it in a professional way.''

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