Racing festival plans to grow
The Palmerston North Gold Cup Festival will return in 2018.
Racing at Awapuni Combined Enterprise chief executive Alasdair Robertson said attendance in March at on and offcourse events and betting turnover had proved a success and the foundation for an event that could grow.
Robertson reported back to the city council’s economic development committee because the festi- val is receiving $50,000 a year for three years from city ratepayers.
He said more than 4000 people attended the main race day meeting at Awapuni, and the harness night meeting the night before, with more than 3000 at the Jimmy Barnes concert at Central Energy Trust Arena, with over 500 at the festival opening in The Square.
On-course turnover at the harness and greyhound meeting was up nearly threefold on the expected average.
At Awapuni, total on and off- course turnover was more than $2.1 million, up 13.2 per cent on a similar event a year ago, and against betting trends.
Robertson said if it could grow to be half as successful as the New Zealand Cup and Show week in Christchurch, it could generate $13.8m in economic impact for Manawatu, and $16.3m in direct spending.
Next year’s festival would run from March 28 to 31, although the Friday would be low-key as it would be Good Friday.
The success of the first Gold Cup Festival race day at Awapuni means a return in 2018.