After the parade many remained in Queenstown to enjoy the huge range of events on the opening day of the 40th Anniversary American Express Queenstown Winter Festival.
The annual American Express Festival Street Parade was 70’s themed in a nod to the Festival’s inaugural outing in 1975. An impressive procession of 36 community, local business and corporate floats paraded waving children, zombies, a traction engine, a 1970’s jet boat, a marching band, stilt walkers and more flares, flowers and funk than has been seen on Queenstown’s streets en masse for decades.
"It was great to see people of all ages getting into the spirit of the 40th anniversary parade. So many fun and truly kiwi floats. American Express is so proud to be part of this fantastic celebration," said Morgan Hunter Vice President of Customer Loyalty, American Express and Festival Street Parade judge.
It is now a nail-biting wait for the winners as the Best Community Float and Best Business Float will not be announced until Monday morning on The Hits 90.4 by Craig ‘Ferg’ Ferguson who was also a judge.
Before the parade, the Frontrunner Golden Mile featured some of the resort’s fittest athletes and costumed fun runners in costume, sprinting their way around Queenstown streets in the hope of posting the fastest time – or at least finishing.
Both men’s and women’s events were fiercely contested. Jordan de Spong won the men’s division completing the course in 4.41 minutes. The women’s event was taken out by Gemma Morgans in 5.49 minutes.
This year’s Otterbox Mountain Bikes on Snow at Coronet Peak featured a mass start from the top of the Meadows Chairlift. Predictable chaos and spills ensued with local mountain biker Harriet ‘Bob’ Latchem taking out the women’s title, Quintin McCrostie the men’s title and Matt Lawton the junior title.
A highly-anticipated match in front of a sell-out crowd will take place on ice later this evening with local ice hockey heroes the Southern Stampede taking on the Dunedin Thunder. Earlier in the day the annual Wakatipu Rugby Club match against Maniototo saw a whopping 88-3 victory to the visitors.
Day Two events culminate tonight with the always glamorous SKYCITY Narnia Ball at the Memorial Centre in a magical setting with fine food and sensational entertainment from Jackie Clarke and Frankie Stevens in an evening to relive this childhood tale as an adult.