Festival off to a sunny start

Last updated 05:00 17/02/2014
Island Bay
KENT BLECHYNDEN/ Fairfax NZ

MARCH, TWO, THREE, FOUR: Community and cultural groups march down to Shorland Park during the festival’s opening parade, to the enjoyment of spectators young and old. 

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Two days of gorgeous sunshine drew record crowds for the Island Bay Festival's opening weekend.

More than 20,000 people attended the Day in the Bay yesterday, organiser Jo Bushe said. "Shorland Park is full. It's been a busy day."

The majority came for the markets, including the Italian street cafe quarter, but 77 hardy souls joined the 8am swimming race from the beach to Tapu Te Ranga Island.

"The sun's warm but they did say the water was cold."

One of the annual festival favourites was always the boat blessing ceremony, Ms Bushe said.

"We had 42 boats at the blessing including the mayor in a kayak . . .Definitely that was a great show for everybody."

Also performing were buskers, circus artists and musicians.

The event opened on Saturday with a procession down The Parade, yard sales and a variety entertainment show.

The Island Bay Festival continues throughout the week, with the Ribble St races, a teddy bear's picnic and a charity Devonshire tea in the Island Bay lighthouse on The Esplanade.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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