Waimate reaps benefits from major events
The Waimate economy could be boosted to the tune of nearly half a million dollars this weekend, with thousands expected to pour into the town for two major events.
The 50th edition of the annual Waimate Shears, at the town’s new $800,000 pavilion, started last night, while the popular Waimate 50 motorsport event kicks off on Friday, when the first weekends of racing starts.
The Waimate Shears run until Sunday. Waimate District Mayor Craig Rowley said the district could expect to draw in between $300,000 and $400,000 from the events.
‘‘It’s great for the town, and not just that, the whole district.’’
With accommodation ‘‘pretty well booked’’ in Waimate, many accommodation providers in of two smaller towns like Makikihi would reap the benefits from the event, he said. ’’People know Waimate throws a good party, which we do with our events.’’
Waimate Shears Spring Society executive officer Eileen Smith said there would be more than 130 competitors from across New Zealand and overseas competing in wool handling, and blade and machine shearing.
The 50th anniversary celebrations were set to be kickstarted with a dinner featuring guest speaker Sir David Fagan, 16-time Golden Shears champion. Smith said many of the original shearers would be attending the event.
Society president Warren White said it would be ‘‘a big weekend for Waimate; there will be lots of people in town’’. Waimate 50 spokesman Rob Aikman said many national competitors would be at the event, which had motorcycle racing added this year.
‘‘It is the only place in New Zealand that shuts down the whole street,’’ Aikman said, predicting some 10,000 people could come to Waimate over the course of the event.
While the two events would be ‘‘competing’’ for people, Aikman said it was a ‘‘great thing’’ for Waimate to have so many people coming in.