Army of volunteers needed for Fun Fest

All the fun of the fair on the dragon ride at Fun Fest in January.

All the fun of the fair on the dragon ride at Fun Fest in January.

A venue change for a free annual festival for kids has organisers worried numbers might fall.

The Trillian Trust Fun Fest has moved to Mt Smart Stadium after its usual venue, Alexandra Park, became the Blues training site.

The festival will run from January 14-17 and supports Kidz First Children's Hospital at Middlemore.

Clifford the Big Red Dog takes a spin on the teacups at this year's Fun Fest.

Clifford the Big Red Dog takes a spin on the teacups at this year's Fun Fest.

This year's event attracted bumper crowds from all over Auckland but organiser Rob Blake says no one kept exact figures because it was too difficult.

"We had big crowds on all four days but because it is free, we can't go off ticket sales."

Sponsored by Trillian Trust, the four-day fair gives families a break from the heavy costs of Christmas and the holidays while doubling as a Middlemore Foundation fundraiser.

January's event will be Fun Fest No 13 and Blake says without the Trillian Trust running the event would be impossible.

"We have to pay for a venue, the rides, all sorts of costs but because of Trillian we can still offer free entry, parking and rides."

Trillian's Dean Agnew says the holidays can be a huge drain on parents.

"It's a huge undertaking because all those rides, prizes and marquees have to paid for. But we do it because we want the kids to have a good time.

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"Sure we put up the money, but really the volunteers who give up their own holidays are the stars. It takes Rob an eternity to organise this and he calls on wonderful people who man the stalls, pick up the rubbish and often get little thanks for it. It's hard work keeping going for four days straight."

The Middlemore Foundation's Ankita Luthra says the festival is an important event for the children's hospital.

"We don't have big corporate supporters so this is a vital source of funds for us."

The money raised will help fund equipment for Kidz First. 

"Loads of families have a great time and we are able to help children. That's quite something," Luthra says.

HELPING HANDS NEEDED

Fun Fest needs an army of volunteers to man the stalls, do face-painting and offer general help. Anyone interested in taking part can contact Ankita Luthra at 270 8808 or ankita.luthra@middlemore.co.nz

 - Stuff

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