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Another season of the Alexandra Blossom Festival is almost here.

The annual event will return on September 27-29, marking its 63rd year on Central Otago’s spring-time calendar.

Festivities will begin on the Friday with the Round the Clock Race from 4.45pm, followed by the popular Mardi Gras at the Linger and Die reserve.

Event manager Martin McPherson said the Freestyle MX Spectacular would return this year, and was expected to be one of the night’s highlights. It will be followed by a fireworks display.

Craig Smith, more commonly known to children as The Wonky Donkey Man, will also return, due to popular demand.

Festivities will continue on the Saturday, starting with the Grand Procession at 11.45am.

It will include a Truck Parade, which will feature the big rigs of the region’s contractors, and a display of hand-crafted floats, which will parade down Centennial Ave, led by the Alexandra Pipe Band.

Last year’s procession featured seven competitive floats, more than 70 trucks, vintage cars and tractors, six pipe bands, as well as gymnasts, marchers, clowns, stilt walkers and three senior queens.

This year, there are eight princesses.

Florreys, which are trollies decorated as floats, will also feature again this year.

“I could do with some more florreys,” Mr McPherson said.

He welcomed float entries being made over the coming week.

Closing it off early meant he was able to get everyone’s entry mentioned in the programme.

Saturday in the Park – a market event – will follow the procession.

“We’ve got 44 food and beverage stalls and 120 market stalls,” Mr McPherson said last week.

A range of entertainment will be on offer throughout the afternoon, including a performance by long-standing Kiwi band The Warratahs and Werewolves of Lumsden – a five-piece band from Queenstown and Arrowtown.

The festival will finish on the Sunday with a tour of nine Alexandra and Clyde gardens.

Mr McPherson believed the event’s success was due to the fact it was “traditional”.

“It probably harps back to a somewhat simpler time, with traditional values that people relate to. It’s about family, it’s about community and it’s about a celebration of us.”

ALEXIA.JOHNSTON

@alliedpress.co.nz