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Race day hits the beach

GILL ALCOCK
Last updated 08:37 20/02/2013
Onetangi Beach Races

MAIN ATTRACTION: The horse races are the big drawcard of the Onetangi Beach Races organised by Waiheke Rotary.

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The popular Onetangi Beach Races take place this Sunday.

The event has been part of the island's fabric for more than 100 years and draws huge crowds to the Onetangi beachfront and large numbers of boats in the bay.

It is organised by Waiheke Rotary as a major fundraiser to plough funds back into the community.

More than 30 local charities, good causes, clubs, individuals, the Westpac rescue helicopter and St John benefited directly from last year's event.

Visitors can expect a full day of family themed fun including races, Fashion in the Field for adults, an under-the-sea-themed kids' dress-up competition, a sandworks competition, tug-of-war, fun fair alley, silent auctions and raffles.

The Big Dig is a treasure hunt with extra prizes if diggers go dressed as pirates.

The day's main attractions are the variety of races along the golden sands of Onetangi Beach.

Everyone, from children clutching eggs and spoons to horses, tractors and wheelbarrows will vie for line honours.

Event organiser Linda Marincas says a highlight for many is the Sealegs Amphibious Race.

"It's a thrilling spectacle, watching a dozen or more of these agile craft being raced into the water, around a circuit and back on to the sand. There's no holds barred in this race - most people who enter are in to win."

Sealegs International is the New Zealand company which designs and manufactures them in Auckland for worldwide markets. It is a new sponsor of the event.

Sealegs co-founder David Mckee-Wright says: "We're delighted to be on board.

"It's a great historic event which can now boast the largest amphibious race in the world.

"Onetangi is the ideal location for a race like this, not least because Waiheke has around 40 Sealegs already on the island but also it really is one of the best free family days out in Auckland each summer."

The tote for the races is the main fundraiser for the day. Race packs cost $25 and contain tickets for all tote races. Packs also contain more than $200 worth of vouchers, the day's programme, other information and a chance to win a $1000. They can be bought on the day at the Tote Tent.

Dividends are paid to first place winners only.

New this year is Fun Fair Alley which features fairground favourites like hook the duck.

The fun starts at 10am. Visitors are advised to wear plenty of sunscreen and a hat and drink lots of liquids.

Visit onetangibeachraces. co.nz for more information on the event.

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