Street festivals fit to burst

02:55, Mar 16 2009
BUBBLING OVER: Jay Copper finds conditions perfect for big bubbles at the Newtown festival.
FAIRYTALE FUN: Piccolo the pixie, aka Chrissie Hart, engages with Mya Nobis, aged 6, at the Newtown Festival.
DIFFERENT STROKES: All sorts were drawn to the Newtown Festival.
BIRD'S EYE: Simon Koziarski has a balcony view for the fair.
IN THE GROOVE: Elisabeth Williams and Armando Baudlin get the fiesta spirit in Jackson St.
RHYTHM IS A DANCER: A pair of Batucada group dancers move to the beat in Jackson St.

Hot on the heels of Cuba St Carnival success, Wellington region streets came alive again at the weekend, with two popular community festivals.

Nearly 100,000 people flocked to yesterday's Newtown festival and Saturday night's Jackson St Fiesta in Petone.

Event organisers are buzzing after staging the annual events, saying the great weather helped woo huge crowds.

The Newtown Festival turned into a double-header when 9000 visitors took the opportunity to walk through Wellington's new state-of-the-art regional hospital.

Outside the hospital's Riddiford Street front doors, an estimated 70,000 walked among 330 stalls of ethnic food, clothing and assorted knick-knacks.

The retiring organiser of the Newtown event, Peter Frater, said the turnout was the festival's biggest and best yet.

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He attributed the big crowd to good organisation, fine weather and the hospital open day.

In Petone, Jackson St was closed off from 6pm till 10:30pm on Saturday for the annual fiesta. Organiser Duncan Chisholm said about 20,000 people flocked to it in calm, humid conditions.

They were entertained by bands including dDub, The Woolshed Sessions, The Eggs, Hikoikoi and perennial crowd-pleasers the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra.

The uke heroes charmed fans with their reinterpreted rock anthems.

Local reggae act Hikoikoi also proved a crowd-pleaser.

The Dominion Post