Town rolling out a wagon welcome

Patearoa Cavalcade organising committee members have been enjoying a good laugh or two as they organise the parade and hoedown event for the 2020 Cavalcade. From left: Erin Swanson, Margot Hall, Belinda Colling, Pete Aitken, Janine Smith and Charlie Hore.
Patearoa Cavalcade organising committee members have been enjoying a good laugh or two as they organise the parade and hoedown event for the 2020 Cavalcade. From left: Erin Swanson, Margot Hall, Belinda Colling, Pete Aitken, Janine Smith and Charlie Hore. Photo: Supplied
If the hub of a rural community is its school or its pub, what do you do when your community no longer has either? Put on a big party, that’s what!

This year the Cavalcade trails will converge on the Maniototo community of Patearoa on Leap Day — Saturday, February 29.

A small committee of local volunteers have been organising a big welcome and hoedown for the trail-goers, and they hope other people will see the event as an opportunity to come and enjoy some country hospitality.

Patearoa Cavalcade organising committee member Erin Elworthy said any opportunity to bring her small, rural and remote community together was worthwhile.

With diminishing school rolls, the Patearoa and Paerau schools have now been closed for a number of years. More recently the Patearoa Hotel closed its doors. ‘‘It does make for some quiet nights at home,’’ she said, laughing.

‘‘When the opportunity arose to organise a hoedown for the Cavalcade right here in our own back yard, we said, ‘let’s do it!’ We got a crew together and we’ve set about doing the best we can to make a real day and night of it.’’

The organising committee consists of eight people, and Mrs Elworthy said a number of organisations in the Maniototo area are also lined up to help with the event in one way or another. ‘‘It’s been really nice to have a good reason to get together and plan an event. It’s brought a focus to the people that live up here and we have enjoyed each other’s company while working out how to make it all happen.’’

Mrs Elworthy said a fete with lots of stalls from all over the area had been planned for the day and a parade would begin at 12pm as all the wagons, riders, bikers and walkers make their way through the township of Patearoa. Entry was $5. Later in the evening, a large marquee with a capacity for 500 will host a hoedown. The $30 entry fee will get partygoers a live band and supper, and there would be a cash bar serving drinks. An electronic bucking bull will be outside the marquee ‘‘for a few laughs’’ and shuttle rides back to Ranfurly will be available throughout the night.

‘‘We hope the surrounding communities really turn out and support the event, and we promise to show everyone a good time.’’

Tickets are are available to purchase through the Facebook page Patearoa Cavalcade 2020, or via email patearoacavalcade@gmail.com.

Any profits from the event will go back into the Patearoa community, Mrs Elworthy said.

-By Alice Scott

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