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