Rac­ing fes­ti­val plans to grow

The Tribune (NZ) - - COMMUNITY COOKBOOK - JA­NINE RANKIN

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.

PHOTO: WAR­WICK SMITH/FAIR­FAX NZ

The suc­cess of the first Gold Cup Fes­ti­val race day at Awa­puni means a re­turn in 2018.

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