The Alexandra Blossom Festival is the festival that could when so so many could not without a hitch at the weekend.
It beat bad weather and brushed aside Covid-19 to go ahead as usual on Saturday.
It is estimated as many as 12,000 people attended one of the first large-scale events in the country since the latest round of Covid-19 restrictions.
In perhaps another first, police reported no arrests associated with the event.
Planning the 64th festival went to the wire, with the go-ahead given only four days before its scheduled start on Friday, following the move to Covid-19 Alert Level 1.
On the eve of the festival came warnings of a southerly blast which spared the event, arriving after it ended.
Festival event manager Martin McPherson said the “stars aligned” and he was “absolutely ecstatic” the event could take place despite obvious challenges.
“It was probably the most challenging event I’ve ever run, it was so touch and go for so many reasons.”
Total crowd numbers would not be known until his “bean counters” had completed their work, but he estimated 10,000-12,000 people.
A highlight of the annual event is the coronation of the Blossom Festival queen, and it was Kathryn Smit (17) who ascended the throne in the festival’s final act.
Nominated by the Combined Lions Clubs of Alexandra and Clyde, the 17-year-old festival then-princess took centre stage on the club’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar-themed float in the grand parade earlier in the day.
Emma Hutton (17), who was on the Alexandra Musical Society’s “A Musical Degustation” float, was named first runner-up and Celia Ward (18), who was on the LJ Hooker breast cancer awareness float, came second runner-up.
Miss Smit said she was “pretty overwhelmed”.
“I really didn’t expect it, I’m a pretty low-key kind of person.”
She said she was “looking forward to making people curtsy” and her “royal engagements”.
Miss Hutton said it had been a “great learning experience”, and she and the other festival princesses had formed a close bond.
Miss Ward said she would be celebrating with her family who had returned to Alexandra from Nelson, having moved there this year while she had remained in Alexandra to complete her schooling.
- Winner of best florrey (a float built on a supermarket trolley) was Central Dental’s “The Tooth Ferry”.
- The most artistic float went to LJ Hooker.
- People’s choice was awarded to the Combined Lions Clubs of Alexandra and Clyde.
- Best contemporary float went to the Alexandra and Districts Youth Trust Puna Rangatahi for “Inside Out”.
- The Terrace School won best school float with “Trolls”.
- Eat Humble Pie, Animal Rehab, and Boss Alexandra won best small float for “Yelp for Help”.
- A special “You did this despite Covid-19” award went to the Alexandra Musical Society’s float.