Fun day for all as Winton opens its heart

Successful family day

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 11:36 19/11/2012
Southland Times photo
NICOLE GOURLEY/Fairfax NZ
Paige Ussher, 12, checks out the sweets on sale at the Winton Open Day.

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The annual Winton Open Day was hailed a success by organisers as hundreds of people from throughout Southland thronged the town's main street yesterday.

Winton Business Association president Maria Scammell praised the efforts of the community in making it successful.

"For more than 30 years it has been a successful family day out and this year was fantastic. The community should be proud," she said.

It had been much more successful than last year because of the weather.

Closing the northbound lane of the main street had enhanced the festival atmosphere.

Winton shops opened especially for the event and many sold their wares outside along with craft and produce stall-holders.

Despite the morning drizzle, visitors made their way from shops to stalls, stopping to listen to the dozens of buskers.

Friends Abby Gutschlag and Ella McDowall entertained the crowds with songs they played together at the Gold Guitars.

The 8-year-olds were encouraged to perform by their music teacher.

Dunedin-based Granny Annies Sweet Shop was a huge success, as crowds swarmed to sample the various delights on offer.

Stuart Ussher, from Invercargill, was browsing the shop with his children.

"We came for a family day out. It's much better than last year," he said.

Many more visitors made their way around the stalls, vendors and activities when the sun made a welcome appearance during the afternoon.

Brendon Burgess was happy to see the sun after being dunked with water for 30 minutes.

Mr Burgess was taking part in a fundraising dunking game, where people paid to throw a ball at a target that, when hit, emptied a bucket of water over the person below.

About six volunteers took part in the game organised by BNZ staff to raise funds for for the Winton skate park.

Paul Corcoran was enjoying a family day out with his grandson Jacob Pirie, 3, who watched as the Fire Service mascots Flint and Amber made their way down the street with firefighters meeting children.

Winton police opened the doors to the station and their police vans during the open day. Police dogs were popular with the children, who lined up to pat them.

Meanwhile, the adults lined up to get a closer look at the armed offenders squad weapons on display.

Southland area commander Inspector Lane Todd was on hand to "lock up" children as they had a look inside the police van.

"I don't like to keep them in there too long," he said.

Mr Todd said the open day was a good way to showcase the work of the police to the community.

It was the second year they had taken part but this year many police resources were involved in their display.

He hoped to organise a similar police event in Invercargill after Christmas.

collette.devlin@stl.co.nz

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