See the sea in parade

ALASTAIR PAULIN
Last updated 09:21 05/12/2013
 Motueka's Starlight Parade
COLIN SMITH
SEA'S BOUNTY: Both Motueka's Starlight Parade and A&P Show have nautical themes this year.

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Motueka is gearing up for the biggest weekend of the year, with the Starlight Parade on Friday and the A&P Show on Sunday.

Both events draw thousands.

The weekend of merriment kicks off earlier than in the past, with the New World Starlight Parade beginning at 7pm.

Organiser Peter Garlick said that was to allow younger children to have a chance to see the man in red in his traditional place at the rear of the parade before bedtime, as well as to encourage High St retailers to stay open late on Friday.

There is also more emphasis on pre-parade entertainment, with music and stalls in Wallace St from 5.30 and entertainers on High St from 6pm.

"Our hope is that people will come early and help get that buzz going before the parade," said Peter.

Children's musician Kath Bee will start the entertainment in Wallace St, with local reggae band Irie Vibes filling the later slot. There will also be street performers, food stalls, community groups and rides. In High St, members of Origin Dance Crew will be performing, along with stilt walkers and musicians and giveaways for kids.

High St will be closed to traffic from 6pm and Wallace St at 4.30pm.

The parade, which has been running for 13 years, is again being organised by Motueka Events Charitable Trust, which is supported by Our Town Motueka.

Forty floats are entered this year, which should make the parade slightly bigger than either the Nelson or Richmond parades.

"We're pretty relaxed, with no entry fee and no dress code" said Peter.

"We're all a wee bit Westie around here and we'll embrace that."

The judges this year are new Tasman District Councillor Peter Canton and Tara Forde, who will be surveying the fun on High St from their vantage point on the awning of Whitwell's Menswear as they pick winners in community, schools, business, friends and family categories, as well as the float that best represents the parade's theme of the Sea.

The nautical theme came from the organisers of the ITM Motueka A&P Show, which has been boosted this year by the addition of the Hunting, Fishing and Outdoors Expo.

A&P Show secretary Trish Palmer said the show had been going from strength to strength, and guaranteed that this year's would be the biggest and best ever. The 80 trade stalls at the show was already a record, and the expo would have another 50 stalls.

The sea theme would be represented by events such as "fish for a treat" at 10am and a casting competition, as well as the presence of Geoff Thomas from the TV show Outdoors with Geoff.

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He will be speaking at the expo at 12.30pm and out and about at the show after that, said Trish.

The Coastguard would be new exhibitors, and although it won't be on water, a coal-fired steamboat built by Alan Atkins will be making its first appearance at the show.

Trish said a highlight would be the wild food dish competition, with people asked to bring their favourite wild food dish and the recipe they used to make it, to the outdoors expo.

The judges will be Daryl Crimp, Kevin Hopgood and Geoff Thomas. You don't have to have caught it . . . just prepared and cooked it. Registration will be on Sunday until 9.30am.

Entries in the horse events and craft and cooking sections were at record levels, said Trish, a promising sign of growing interest in the event.

"We even know of a lady who's taken the week off to do baking and we've never heard of that happening before," said Trish.

The show runs from 10am till 4pm at Marchwood Park, with admission $5 or $20 for a family and pre-schoolers free.

- Nelson

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