Feild­ing lights crowd down from 2015

The Tribune (NZ) - - GARDENING - SAM KILMISTER

Thou­sands turned out to see bright lights dawn on some of Manawatu’s unique his­tory, although the foot traf­fic was still well down com­pared with two years ago.

The bi­en­nial win­ter event changed venue this year, with the Makino Ro­tary Club set­ting up camp at the Coach House Mu­seum in Feild­ing from July 7 to 22.

Pre­vi­ous light­ing events had been held in Kowhai Park, but main­te­nance work there re­duced the num­ber of trees and nat­u­ral ar­eas avail­able for place­ment of the light frames.

Co-or­di­na­tor Gary Wors­ley put the lower head count down to a cold and wet hol­i­day pe­riod as about 1000 fewer peo­ple than 2015 walked through the door.

This year about 3700 peo­ple vis­ited the light­ing spectacular, down from the mid-4000s in other years.

To­tal rev­enue was down, with the ro­tary club pock­et­ing $25,000 be­fore ex­penses.

A do­na­tion will be made to the Coach House Mu­seum to cover the power bill in­crease, he said.

De­spite the at­ten­dance drop, Wors­ley was happy with the qual­ity of the dis­play and said the Coach House Mu­seum was happy to throw it­self into the hat for host­ing rights in 2019.

‘‘The vis­i­tors, in gen­eral, were very happy with the light show and many peo­ple were in­ter­ested in com­ing back to visit the Coach House [af­ter the dis­play].’’

He said the ro­tary club had made the shift without in­creas­ing the cost of the event. The price of ad­mis­sion for adults has been $10, chil­dren $2 and a fam­ily pass $20 since the event’s in­cep­tion in 2005.

It was eas­ier to in­stall and dis­man­tle the light­ing dis­play at the new venue, he said.

It also had the bonus of a cov­ered roof.

‘‘The weather for the first week was wet and cold – our vis­i­tor num­bers were quite low, but thank­fully the sec­ond week num­ber were much im­proved.’’

Car­riages and horses were used as part of the dis­play and fea­tured about 100 lights, most made by mem­bers of the club.

All pro­ceeds go to com­mu­nity projects.

PHOTO: DAVID UNWIN/STUFF

More than 3500 peo­ple vis­ited the Coach House Mu­seum for the Fan­tasy in Lights dis­play, but not as many as 2015.

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