Drags pull out of festival
A drag race meeting that has been a feature of the Alexandra Blossom Festival for over 25 years has been cancelled.
Southern Dragways president Rae Wilson said the decision to cancel Thunder Sunday was not made lightly. The club was told in November the event could not be run as a bring-your-own-alcohol event because it was held on council land. But they had since discovered the costs involved with organising an alcohol booth, getting a special alcohol license, and providing fencing and security would mean there would be little or no profit for the kindergarten or the club. He understood the police had not been in favour of the event being alcohol free, because of the difficulty in ensuring people were not bringing alcohol in.
The council had also said the drags could not be held at the air strip from next year onwards, because the aero club had plans to re-seal the tarmac, and more residences were to be built around it. The event usually attracted about 80 cars and thousands of spectators, and was the biggest event in the club’s calendar.
‘‘It has been our major fundraiser for years ... [I have] concerns about the future for Southern Dragways.’’
Alexandra Blossom Festival organiser Martin McPherson said they had tried ‘‘desperately’’ to work with Southern Dragways but increased compliance costs put it in the ‘‘too hard and unaffordable basket’’.
‘‘It is the regime we are working under and it is impacting on a number of events. The police wanted some control on consumption. The only way is to ban BYO or run it as a dry event. There were costs associated with both those options.’’