Huge crowds exceed expectations at Wanaka Show
At least 40,000 people have turned out to the 79th annual Wanaka A&P Show this weekend – smashing last year’s crowd record by 5,000.
The Show grows in number every year but the 14% increase in attendants over the two-day event has exceeded expectations of the organisers.
“We’re blown away by the numbers this year. Yesterday was a busy day but today’s been huge. We even ran out of tickets and had to use our back-up supply,” Wanaka Show coordinator Jane Stalker says.
Official numbers would be confirmed over the coming days.
“It’s been a fantastic couple of days and we’ve had a lot of positive comments from our visitors – with some people even coming to Wanaka from the North Island specifically for the Show. It’s great that people know it as a major event for this region – something which our local community benefits from,” Stalker adds.
Trade exhibitor numbers were also up this year, with 472 stalls compared to last year’s record 460. Equestrian entries were up over 300, beating last year’s record of 290 combinations (i.e. one rider on several horses, or one horse with several riders).
The new park-and-ride initiative to reduce parking congestion in central Wanaka, which ran as a trial today, was a success and will be introduced across both days next year, Stalker says.
Wanaka Show guest of honour Catriona Williams, who attended the Show for the first time with her husband Sam, says they’ve had an “amazing” time: “We have come to an A&P Show that has heart and soul. Everyone here has been so wonderful. If you have got a bucket list, the Wanaka A&P Show should be on it,” she says.
A special fundraising event for Williams’ charity, the CatWalk Spinal Injury Trust, raised $6875 at the Showgrounds on Friday night. Auction items included a bottle of wine signed by Sir Mark Todd and a 2015 Rugby World Cup training jersey worn and signed by Richie McCaw.
Photos from the 2016 Wanaka A&P Show can be downloaded here.