A huge crowd turned out to enjoy the first weekend of summer at the annual Christmas at the Races event run by the Otago Racing Club at Cromwell Racecourse last Sunday.
The sun shone and a cool breeze kept temperatures down as people arrived by bus, car and on foot from Cromwell to start the festive season.
Many of the more than 40 hospitality tents at the edge of the track hosted business Christmas functions.
Young people made up most of the crowd, men and women alike dressed up for the day.
There was no catwalk fashion parade this year — fashion in the field was entered and judged on social media. A DJ and live musicians entertained the crowd and a host of food vendors were on the course.
ID was checked at the entry gates and coloured wristbands identified those old enough to buy alcohol. Due to a change in licensing, no BYO alcohol was allowed at event. Senior Sergeant Clint Wright, of Cromwell, said police were happy with the crowd.
A ‘‘tiered’’ response’’ was planned for later in the evening once the races finished, he said.
Red Frogs volunteers were on hand all afternoon offering water, sunscreen and Red Frog lollies to racegoers.
Spokesman Ray Thomson said their aim was to minimise harm from alcohol by offering water and a safe space for people to go.
‘‘The more water . . .we can put into people, the less harm at the end of the day.’’
While their 21 volunteers would help those who overindulged, their aim was to be a fence at the top not an ambulance at the bottom, of the cliff, Mr Thomson said.