Central Otago Mirror - - CENTRAL NEWS -

The cash short­fall was not the only dis­ap­point­ment for or­gan­is­ers with float num­bers and princesses down on pre­vi­ous years.

Only five floats with princesses had been en­tered to date, he said.

Strong sup­port­ers like the Alexan­dra Fire Brigade, were not en­ter­ing floats this year be­cause mem­bers’ spare time and re­sources were taken up with their build­ing up­grade, he said.

‘‘While that’s dis­ap­point­ing, it’s also gen­er­ated some re­ally great ideas and ini­tia­tives of how to main­tain the pro­ces­sion’s vi­brancy.’’

Or­gan­is­ers had tried to di­ver­sify and came up with the ‘‘flor­reys’’ con­cept – a cross between a float and an Alexan­dra New World- do­nated shop­ping trol­ley, he said.

Ex­hibitors dec­o­rated a flor­rey with their theme of choice.

The idea has cap­tured peo­ple’s imag­i­na­tions, par­tic­u­larly young peo­ple, had 21 en­tries had been re­ceived so far, he said.

‘‘It’s a sign of the times, when peo­ple are time-poor, so we’ve had to di­ver­sify by in­tro­duc­ing less labour­in­ten­sive op­tions, to build on the idea that a float doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily have to made from crepe flow­ers.’’

There was $2000 in prize money and New World vouch­ers for the win­ner, he said.

How­ever, the pa­rade would not be the same with­out its crepe-clad clas­sics, which would show­case favourites from pre­vi­ous years, such as the Sta­dium Tav­ern’s 2011 win­ner, the Buzzy Bees, and the Wob­bly Ducks, which charmed pa­rade-go­ers in 2012, he said.

‘‘They’re up for adop­tion and re­fur­bish­ment by pas­sion­ate in­di­vid­u­als, so peo­ple should give me a call if they’re in­ter­ested in tak­ing them on.’’

The builder and re­tired dairy farmer Peter Roberts, said he would be happy to see his creations get an­other out­ing.

‘‘I’d be happy to give peo­ple a hand, to show them how they work, and it will be fun for peo­ple to dress them up. That’s what makes float­mak­ing such a com­mu­nity thing.’’

An­other blow had been the loss of Truck Stops— the truck pa­rade spon­sors for 33 years. How­ever, the main street would still be graced with shiny, wheeled beasts, he said.

‘‘I didn’t want to see it go, so to­gether with ATL [an Alexan­dra truck­ing com­pany] we’ve taken on the re­spon­si­bil­ity, and been in con­tact with var­i­ous op­er­a­tors around the south. So yes, they’ll still be there with horns and bells on.’’

Fes­ti­val com­mit­tee chair Clair Hig­gin­son said the ar­rival of spring en­cap­su­lated the Alexan­dra Blos­som Fes­ti­val spirit.

‘‘For me, the key rea­son that blos­som fes­ti­val works is that the whole com­mu­nity in­volves them­selves, and that the town still has the pas­sion to make it hap­pen.’’ ◗ Peo­ple can make do­na­tions to the Alexan­dra Blos­som Fes­ti­val Fire­works ac­count at the BNZ.

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