From ball venue to dance hall

Arrowtown's Athenaeum Hall will undergo a massive makeover in 24 hours this weekend to transform it from the glitzy venue needed for The Gold Ball to a rustic hall more suited to the Buckingham Belles Miners' Night.

Arrowtown 150 co-ordinator Julie Hughes said tickets were still available for both events, which promised to be "unforgettable".

"The ball is with the New Zealand Army Band ... which is going to be pretty amazing.

"There will be canapes and bubbles on arrival, with a two-course buffet meal ... provided by Mann Made Catering.

Included on the menu would be an Asian-inspired "Tribute to a Chinese Miner".

Mrs Hughes said the main focus of Saturday evening's Gold Ball would be on celebrating the 150th anniversary of the discovery of gold in Arrowtown, as ball-goers took the opportunity to "glam up" and dance the night away.

Just 24 hours later, the hall would be transformed to welcome guests at the Buckingham Belles Miners' Night, where "billies, bacon and beans" would help transport ticket-holders back to the 1800s.

"It's going to be a great miners' banquet - certainly better than your average supper."

Guests were invited to dress either as miners or "saloon girls" and dance to Invercargill band Forbidden Fruit, who Mrs Hughes said were "hit-the-dance-floor sort of people".

One of the highlights of Sunday night's event would be the bar area, which was being decorated with support from a brewery, Mrs Hughes said.

"We've gone all out for the bar ... Speight's is heading in this direction as we speak with a truck full of Speight's, old barrels and old bottles to make up a real, old-fashioned Speight's bar."

The bar would be fully stocked with the sponsor's product as well as special Arrowtown 150 wine. The wine was produced for the special weekend by Waitiri Creek, with different labels for The Gold Ball and the Miners' Night.

"We've got 35 dozen ... it should keep us going for a while."

• The Gold Ball begins at 7pm on Saturday, with tickets $80 per person, available from the Lakes District Museum, by emailing or as door sales.

• Tickets for the Buckingham Belles Miners' Night, which begins at 7.30pm on Sunday, cost $35 per person and are available from the Lakes District Museum, by emailing or as door sales.


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