Partygoers boogie as 'epic' event ends

Is it a bird? is it a plane? No, it's Hamish Walker, MP for Clutha-Southland, in the Queenstown...
Is it a bird? is it a plane? No, it's Hamish Walker, MP for Clutha-Southland, in the Queenstown Winter Festival birdman competition.PHOTOS: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Dancing up a storm seemed the only way to send off the 45th Queenstown Winter Festival.

Thousands of party-goers boogied and burst into song yesterday afternoon when Hot Dub Time Machine, a DJ who plays hit songs from every decade in chronological order, hit the Bathhouse Stage.

Sydney DJ Tom Loud's performance was a real coup for Queenstown - he has wowed audiences at sold-out shows across the globe, including festival slots at Coachella, Fringe, and he is off to play at Glastonbury this week.

There were similar scenes when Chase and Status echoed around the snowy hills of Coronet Peak as part of Audiology's Mardi Gras.

Festival director Rae Baker described the action-packed four-day event as "simply epic".

"It's about bringing our community together, and celebrating the reason we live here and winter starting," Ms Baker said.

Weather came to the party too - fresh snowfall at night and stunning sunshine through the day.

On Saturday, thousands of people - locals and tourists alike - lined Queenstown Bay to watch reinvigorated festival favourites, including Splash for Cash, Undy 500, the Birdman and much more.

The revitalised AJ Hackett Birdman drew contestants from both Queenstown and overseas.

Costumes included trappings of outrageousness and formality - from suits to fairy costumes.

On the political front, Hamish Walker tackled the swing, 6m above water, in a suit and tie, before being catapulted into the air and nailing the perfect superman pose, finishing with a plunge into 6degC water in Lake Wakatipu.

"It actually really hurt hitting the water," Mr Walker said, although still in good spirits.

He would have won the Birdman crown but left before the medal ceremony. Matt Jagiello, claimed the title for AJ Hackett Bungy instead.

Meanwhile, male Undy 500 competitors took a run-and-push approach to the inflatable obstacle course when they all piled up on each other after one man got stuck in a hole.

The Undy 500 always provides cheers and reactions from the crowd as barely-clad racers come in...
The Undy 500 always provides cheers and reactions from the crowd as barely-clad racers come in contact with freezing water and the stony beach. New this year were obstacle courses, both in the lake and on the beach, causing chaos in the water and gravel. The 2019 men's winner was Cameron Bartlett, followed by Ed Simpson and Andrew Robinson.
When the course became detached from its mooring and started floating away, the men toppled into the freezing water in nothing but their skimpy undies.

The crowd was in hysterics.

Winner Cameron Bartlett, of Christchurch, did not see the calamity happening behind him as he ducked and weaved to the finish line, while the winner of the women's round, Sarah Dance, quickly hopped through the tyres with a purple feather boa around her neck flapping.

They each won $250 and a free seven-day camper hire from Jucy.

When the sun went down on Saturday, the disco lights of the Studio 54 Ball started flashing.

Guests who managed to get tickets to the quickly-sold-out event were told in the final hour the secret location was at the AJ Hackett Kawarau Bungy Centre.

While last year's Winter Festival pumped $4.4 million into the district over four days, the numbers for this year are yet to be crunched.

Ms Baker is over the moon with the turnout.

"There has been a great community buzz around town.

"The fireworks were packed and everyone is just having a fantastic time."


Boogie woogie?
Was everyone quite old?



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