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A mellow yellow day


A day filled with daffodils

Despite the rain “absolutely hosing down”, the sun and numbers turned out for Carterton’s Daffodil Festival.

After multiple covid-related cancellations, thousands thronged Carterton’s High St on Sunday for the event, and Lions Club member and festival stall organiser, Grant Smith, could not have been more relieved.

“When I heard the rain hosing down at midnight, I thought ‘, why are we doing this?’”

He said water was streaming down High St early Sunday morning, overflowing the gutters and running in the middle of the road.

“I thought, ‘oh dear, we’re in trouble.’

“But there was no cancelling. We had to go through with it.”

Smith said to see the sun break through the clouds around mid-morning was an enormous relief.

He said the rain “scared off” about 25 per cent of the stallholders booked, but there were still well over 100 that turned up.

He said Sunday’s event was especially gratifying given covid had put paid to the past two years.

“We had two that were cancelled. [Last year] everything was booked, and then a week out it was cancelled.

“That was disappointing.”

Smith said he wouldn’t hazard a guess at numbers but said there “was a hell of a crowd” at Carterton’s train station to see the historic steam engine pull into town.

“I would say there were as many there as there normally is, if not more.”

The sun broke through the clouds, and hundreds spilled off the train and into town shortly before 11am.

The train, which typically brings about 500 people from Wellington, put on a huge display, showering the delighted crowd in a cloud of steam.

This year also marked the return of the steam train excursions between Carterton and Masterton, of which many took advantage.

People meandered down side streets and hovered around the musical acts, food, craft, and clothing stalls lining the pavement in every direction.

Carterton Events Centre was packed with people enjoying the Big Wai Art Sale inside.

The flags flying at half-mast since the death of Queen Elizabeth II were raised to full mast on Sunday to mark the Governor General of New Zealand proclaiming King Charles III as the King of New Zealand.

Buses were running non-stop from Carterton’s Masson St to the sprawling daffodil fields in Middlerun, where, undeterred by the mud, hundreds took the opportunity to pick daffodils for $4 a bunch, slipping and sliding over the sodden ground.

All proceeds from the daffodil picking were to be donated to Wairarapa Plunket and St John charities.

Carterton Daffodil Festival has been a long-standing partnership between Carterton Lions and Carterton District Council.

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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