by Claire Allison

Central Otago’s Goldfields Cavalcade is coming to Canterbury for the first time.

Twizel has been chosen as the host town for the annual event, which will be held from February 27 to March 6, 2021.

Cavalcade co-ordinator Terry Davis said the event was held away from Central Otago every third year Owaka, in the Catlins, had hosted it, and Kurow had been host some years ago. However this was the first time the event would have a base north of the Waitaki River.

The event provided a huge economic and marketing boost for the host area, Mr Davis said.

“We did an economic report after Hawea, which had similar numbers looking like it will be bigger and it put $1.5million into the community.”

The 2021 cavalcade would offer two wagon and horse-riding trails, five horse-riding trails, one tramping trail, one walking trail, one running trail and a mountain biking trail finishing on March 6 in Twizel.

Mr Davis said the opportunity to explore some of Mackenzie Country was proving popular.

“Interest is very very high.

“People are excited to be finishing in a new area. It opens up a whole lot of new country to ride or walk over, or however they are getting there,” Mr Davis said.

“We’re looking at record entries right up until February. We’re on over 600 already.”

About 450 participants would be riding horses or in wagons, there were about 50 mountain bikers, and the rest would be walking or running.

The trails would start at different locations Hakataramea Valley, and some in the Ahuriri Valley. All would converge on Twizel at lunchtime on March 6.

Mr Davis said there would be a further 600 to 100 people, including family members and supporters, meeting the cavalcade at the end.

“It’s quite a significant event. The whole community is getting behind it as the momentum is starting to roll.

It’s a big undertaking and takes a big chunk of the community to make it happen.

“Apart from myself and an offsider, everyone else is a volunteer; there are about 200 volunteers helping to put this on.”

Mr Davis said about 150 North Islanders usually took part, and were joined by significant numbers of Cantabrians half the cavalcade Timaru.

The average age of participants was about 65, and some regulars took part well into their 80s.

There would also be a family-focused trail, opening up the event to children accompanied by a parent.

It was hoped this would help develop the next generation of riders.

“We get a lot of repeat participants. The vast majority have done 10 years or more.

“Once people start cavalcading, they are hooked for life. They’re all excited for Twizel.”jordan SneakersBoots