Fam­ily days draw crowds

Central Leader - - NEWS -

Ter­ri­ble open­ing day weather might have soaked fun-seek­ers but it could not dampen the mood at the an­nual Fun Fest at Alexan­dra Park last week.

Thou­sands of peo­ple flocked to each day of the free four-day fam­ily event and de­spite rain on the first day, the crowds were good.

Spon­sored by the Tril­lian Trust, Fun Fest 2014 guests en­joyed free en­try, park­ing and rides.

They sup­ported Kidz First Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal through a va­ri­ety of fair­ground games, were en­ter­tained by Mai FM, and took part in on­stage ac­tiv­i­ties.

The event al­lows fam­i­lies some respite af­ter the ex­pense of Christ­mas and the on­go­ing costs of school hol­i­day time.

Kidz First spokes­woman Joanne Hand says it was won­der­ful to see so many fam­i­lies tak­ing ad­van­tage of the event, bring­ing along pic­nics and shar­ing the day with their chil­dren.

‘‘The Tril­lian Trust is to be com­mended be­cause it’s not an event that at­tracts a lot of pub­lic­ity,’’ she says.

‘‘But it at­tracts peo­ple from across the city to take part in a ter­rific free day.

‘‘The high­light, though, is just watch­ing the fam­i­lies get out and spend time to­gether.’’

It took an army of vol­un­teers to man the stalls – and par­tic­u­larly to paint thou­sands of lit­tle faces – but the re­sponse from helpers was good.

Teach­ers, stu­dents and even an eye sur­geon gave their time to the cause, many af­ter ap­peals for help in the Leader.

Tril­lian Trust chief ex­ec­u­tive Dean Agnew says the trust has been in­volved for sev­eral years.

‘‘It’s great to be in­volved in some­thing that en­cour­ages fam­i­lies to play to­gether, to get out and have fun with mum and dad.

‘‘And it’s a big plus that just af­ter Christ­mas, and with the

Cen­tral hol­i­days hit­ting ev­ery fam­ily in the pocket, we can put on a free event.

‘‘Fun Fest is a fan­tas­tic com­mu­nity event and we’ve been in­volved since 2003 so it’s great to see it keep get­ting big­ger and bet­ter.’’

Ms Hand says the Fun Fest Char­i­ta­ble Trust’s Rob Blake and Dianne Richard­son are un­sung Auck­land he­roes.

‘‘They’ve been in­volved for years but ev­ery day there they are stock­ing prize shelves, feed­ing vol­un­teers and zip­ping about on their golf cart pick­ing up the rub­bish too.

‘‘It would be in­ter­est­ing to be able to cal­cu­late how many smiles on Auck­land chil­dren’s faces they have been re­spon­si­ble for. It must be a pretty big num­ber.’’

Good times: Chil­dren en­joy the free rides at the Fun Fest.

Fam­ily day: Onit­sha, 8, and Maria Tse of Ep­som at Alexan­dra Park for the Fun Fest.

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