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Thousands start the silly season

Thousands thronged the streets to mark the beginning of the silly season with two of the region’s calendar events at the weekend.
The weather gods delivered a stunning day for the annual Carterton Rotary Christmas Parade and the year’s second Martinborough Fair on Saturday.
The half-hour parade saw hundreds lining Carterton’s High St, and flooding Carrington Park in the early afternoon.
Parade coordinator Rodney O’Leary said it was wonderful to see the 21st Christmas Parade return after covid put paid to last year’s event.
“It was fabulous. Heck yes, the community really came out and enjoyed it.”
O’Leary said that without the big sponsors, the parade would not have been possible, but it was the small Carterton businesses that had made the difference this year.
“They all put their hands in their pockets and really supported it. Despite dealing with two difficult years, they really got behind us. I was so impressed with that.”
He said it was thanks to parade organisers and stalwarts Pam Robinson and Coral Aitchison that the parade went off without a hitch, and hoped to see it return next year.
Christmas was also in the air in South Wairarapa at the Martinborough Fair.
Fair organisers Vivienne O’Reilly and Paul Mason estimated about 20,000 people descended on the Town Square and surrounding streets.
“The weather is beautiful, and we have sold the most individual stalls ever, about 540.”
The fair, which has run for 37 years, traditionally takes place on the first Saturday in February and March.
However, this year saw it delayed multiple times due to covid.
Mason said running the first fair under covid restrictions at the end of April had delivered some silver linings.
“We changed the layout of the central stall area for distancing, and ended up with heaps of gaps. But it worked really well, so we have done the same again.”
The day was not without drama, however, with the volunteer Martinborough Fire Brigade assisting South Wairarapa Rotary with multiple medical incidents.
Chief fire officer Jake Hawkins said despite responding to four medical events at the fair, it was still not as busy as April’s event.
He said the events were relatively minor but confirmed Wellington Free Ambulance transported two people to hospital.

Mary Argue
Mary Argue
Mary Argue is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with an interest in justice and the region’s emergency services, regularly covering Masterton District Court, Fire and Emergency and Police.

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