Spring Fling exceeds expectations

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by Sally Brooker

Fairlie was teeming with visitors on Sunday for the Mackenzie Highland Spring Fling.

The event was a replacement for the Mackenzie Highland A&P Show, which was cancelled because of Covid-19. Billed as the biggest one-day A&P Show in Australasia, it has been held on Easter Monday for more than 120 years.

Mackenzie A&P Society secretary Jodi Payne said the Spring Fling was “wonderful it exceeded everyone’s expectations”.

Entry was free to encourage as many people as possible to enjoy a day out. That meant attendance numbers could not be counted, but Mrs Payne said a good indication of the crowd size was having to open the “overflow” car park.

The day was “run on a nil budget”, with the aim of boosting local morale and giving back to the businesses that always supported the A&P society. They were given free registration.

Some gave part of their day’s takings to the society, and a small amount was gathered in donation boxes placed around the showgrounds.

“But that wasn’t the goal.”

Mrs Payne said she received a lot of nice comments, both in person and afterwards on Facebook.

Children loved being able to pat the pet lambs, three of which she had brought from home. One small boy wanted to take one home and sleep with it because it was so soft.

The Highland dancing, usually a major feature of the Easter show, comprised a troupe of 12 students from a Timaru studio that was keen to be involved. It was the first time some of the dancers had performed in public, so it was the perfect opportunity to gain confidence in front of an appreciative audience, Mrs Payne said.

The horse competitions were non-A&P and also provided a relaxed experience for young equestrians. The youngest was aged just 3.

Other activities included dog trials, live music, pony rides, face-painting, carnival rides and more than 80 shopping and refreshment sites.

Even the weather was ideal, the rain holding off until the evening.

“We were really blessed by the day,” Mrs Payne said.

The society was preparing for next year’s A&P Show as usual and would have its schedule to the printers before Christmas, she said.

Round we go . . . The merry-go-round was a hit with (from front) Aylheen (2) and Nolhann (9) Melgies from France, Nicola and Felix (1) Wiedemann from Christchurch, and Heather and Wrynna (2) Petry from Oamaru. PHOTO: SALLY BROOKER