Bold, adventurous groups join in parade
Thousands take part in colourful processionSARAH DUNN
Wild and colourful creatures on the move packed out Nelson's central business district for this year's Masked Parade.
More than 3000 exuberant marchers made their way from Montgomery Square down Bridge St and looped through the centre of town.
The theme of the parade this year was "adventurous journeys", which encouraged energetic displays from 50 schools, community groups and organisations.
Community Art Works' Karl Wulff won first prize for the best individual for his grey costume Junk Strider, which included spring-loaded "bouncy stilts" that boosted his height and allowed him to hop along.
"I don't compete because I want to win, I compete because I make masks and I want to be involved in the parade," Mr Wulff said.
Other standouts included pirates on stilts, a protesting polar bear walking with the Nelson Youth Climate Action group, two men dressed as "an owl and a pussy cat" being pushed along in a kayak on wheels, and a woman holding a live chicken under her arm.
TV One's 7 Sharp was filming during the event, and streamed live while the winners of each category were announced by presenter Jesse Mulligan and newly elected Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese.
"It's the one night of the year that's highly anticipated and where Nelson comes together and comes alive," she said. "I was so impressed by the masks and costumes this year - such fantastic efforts by all of those who took part."
Community-based percussion group Samba de Sol took out the Kim Merry Supreme Award for the best group. The Nelson Chinese Society was awarded second prize.
They were joined on the night by the Leshan Song & Dance Troupe who visited from China's Sichuan province to perform the dance show Fault Lines
Hampden Street School's matching Roman legionaries won first prize for the best school. Clad in red and gold, the tiny soldiers smacked tinfoil swords and spears against their cardboard shields before performing the famous Roman "tortoise" manoeuvre of hiding beneath their shields in formation. Appleby School won second prize.
Mum Kelly Hargreaves said she was proud of her son, Drake, five, who was a sun in Auckland Point School's group. The school had themed their act to the Maori legend of Maui and the sun.
"[They're] great, the entries, and all the kids are really enjoying it," she said. "I think it's really good for their confidence and it builds their imagination."
Nine-year-old Jacqueline Brien said Enner Glynn School had been practising their Alice in Wonderland-themed act all term. She had dressed up as a playing card.
"It's great to see all the colours and all the kids with their animated faces, they're all so excited," said her mother Andrea.
The More FM Carnivale began after the parade, including street entertainment, food and free live bands until 11pm.
The bands included Balkan gypsy group Niko Ne Zna, Wellington supergroup Eggs and Richmond teen musicians Livvy and Anna, who played to their biggest crowd yet.
Sergeant Shane Miles, of Nelson, said the crowd had been "fantastic". Only one arrest had been made before 9.30pm, which was earned through breaking the liquor ban.
"So far we've been really pleased with the way the crowd has behaved," he said. "It's been an excellent public event."
- © Fairfax NZ News