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Counting down . . . Cavalcade trail bosses on Sunday were checking out preparations to host the event. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

by Claire Allison

The tiny town of Twizel is pulling out all the stops in preparation for hosting the Goldfields Cavalcade.

The cavalcade begins on February 27 and all trails converge on Twizel on March 6.

The town is responsible for organising a parade of all participants; accommodation for humans, horses and vehicles; a market day and entertainment; a seated meal for 300 to 400 people; an evening hoedown; and a cooked and continental breakfast for 200 to 250 people the following morning.

The event features 11 trails two wagon and horse-riding trails, five horse-riding trails, one tramping tail, one walking trail, a running trail and a mountain biking trail in different locations, but all finishing in Twizel on March 6.

Trail bosses visited Twizel at the weekend for a last meeting with members of the host town working group.

Locals, businesses, schools and community organisations are all playing their part in ensuring the cavalcaders are well looked after.

For working group member Pat Shuker, who grew up in Cromwell and has been involved with horses all her life, it was a labour of love to see the cavalcade come to her home town of 10 years.

“A lot of the people on this cavalcade are my age or more, and lot of us went to school together, rode together and were on teams together.”

Fellow member Norman Geary said that while the work involved for Twizel to host the event was daunting, there was great support from cavalcade organiser the Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust.

“There’s a well-oiled machine.”

Both said the Mackenzie District Council had been hugely supportive of the town’s planning, and Mackenzie Mayor Graham Smith was an honorary member of the working group.

An economic report prepared after Hawea’s hosting said the event put $1.5million into the community, and Mr Geary said the working group hoped it would provide a similarly big economic boost for Twizel and the wider South Canterbury area.