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Parade organisers ponder step away from float tradition

CHE BAKER IN ALEXANDRA
Last updated 05:00 08/05/2012

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Blossom-covered floats may be a thing of the past for the Alexandra Blossom Festival as organisers prepare to change the rules for the annual parade.

Festival organiser Martin McPherson said a workshop for float builders was held last month and it was proposed to relax the rules to make it easier for the builders.

"Flower making takes time, skill and a huge commitment from those involved and often discourages participation. For the festival to maintain its focus on the parade we need to explore other ways of float building", Mr McPherson said.

To encourage more floats in the parade the guidelines on what constituted a traditional float may be altered to allow groups to build floats without flowers but still be in contention for the People's Choice award, he said.

Traditional floats featuring a princess and made with paper flowers have been the focus of the parade since its inception in 1956.

Mr McPherson said changing the rules would be controversial and he welcomed public feedback.

"With the traditional float category attracting fewer entries last year (nine) and the contemporary class growing in popularity the challenge we all face is how we motivate ourselves to get in behind the efforts and help to make our parade the best in the country," Mr McPherson said.

Registration forms for this year's parade will be distributed this month with a clearer description of the requirements for competitive floats.

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- The Southland Times

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