Family days draw crowds
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.