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Real ice for cool Carterton festival

CDC sales and marketing co-ordinator Jenni Hall, WBS business development manager Sharon Pearce, WBS chief executive officer Paul Bywater, Mayor Greg Lang and event manager Jenny Gasson launching the Heart of Winter Festival. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

Carterton’s annual midwinter festival returns next month with an eclectic schedule of heart- and stomach-warming activities.

This year’s Carterton Heart of Winter Festival would align with the start of school holidays, running from July 9-18.

The dates would also cross over with Greytown’s month-long Festival of Christmas.

Destination Wairarapa marketing manager Barbara Hyde said the events would ensure the region had another bumper July.

“Like marquee events such as Wings Over Wairarapa, the Carterton Heart of Winter Festival and Greytown’s Festival of Christmas are hugely significant in helping position the region as an interesting and exciting place to come and stay,” Hyde said.

“Most important, I think, is that they engender a sense of community because they provide wonderful opportunities for local families and friends to enjoy being together.”

Throughout the Carterton festival, a real ice-skating rink complete with onsite bar would be erected on the tennis courts at Carterton Tennis Club.

A rink had been a feature of the festival programme in 2018, although that rink had been constructed from plastic.

Carterton Events Centre sales and marketing co-ordinator Jenni Hall likened the surface of the former rink to the spongy crashmats at a playground for kids.

“It was like that but with a coat on it that meant you could sort of pretend to ice-skate on it,” Hall said.

Former Carterton District Council community services and facilities manager Carrie McKenzie had likened the fake snow in an adjoining snow dome to “the insides of nappies when wet”.

Skating on a real ice rink will be a highlight of the Carterton Heart of Winter Festival.

However, Hall said this year’s rink would be nothing like its predecessor.

“We heard what everyone said. We know where the mistakes were made, and we’re more than making up for it this year.”

Whereas the 2018 synthetic ice rink was about 80m2, this year’s real ice rink was about 160m2.

Patrons would also be able to purchase tickets to all events online well in advance of the festival to avoid the frustration of missing out on tickets at the door. Tickets for a session on the rink were available for $15 an adult, $10 a child, or $50 for a family pass of two adults and three children.

Hall said the tickets were priced to break even with the cost of hiring the rink.

CDC would co-ordinate the festival in partnership with Wairarapa Building Society. Staff from WBS would be on hand to help at the ice-skating rink, as well as many of the other community events.

“We love the fact that CDC has listened to the community and brought back the festival bigger and better than ever,” WBS chief executive officer Paul Bywater said.

“It’s something that resonates strongly with us at WBS and we know the event is going to be something special for our community, which is why we are excited to be involved.”

Other events within the 10-day festival included night markets, a mini-craft beer festival, and an immersive theatre experience.

More daring festivalgoers could show their solidarity with Mayor Greg Lang as he took a midwinter dip in the Ruamahanga River. Fellow plungers could then warm themselves up with a complimentary mulled wine and discounted pizza at the Gladstone Inn.

“Poor Greg,” Hall said. “We’re tossing up the idea of a mankini versus a bikini versus a wetsuit. I’m not sure how we’re going to decide what way we’re going to go with that.”

Hall suggested the crowd could decide Lang’s fate.

  • For more information on the festival, visit cartertonec.co.nz/winterfestival

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