Show and bike jam popular despite rain

AMANDA PARKINSON
Last updated 05:00 03/03/2014

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The first days of autumn blew through the south at the weekend, dampening the region's eclectic mix of events.

Despite the wet weather, a record 7000 people attended the Southland A&P Show in Invercargill on Saturday.

The day knitted city and country life together, exposing Southland's diverse culture.

From prize animals to the revitalised Grand Talent Search, the day aimed to engage people from all ages.

Venture Southland event manager Jade Gillies said everyone was pleased with how the day went.

"Because it's was free for kids, it just made it a great family day," he said.

In Central Southland, the thunder of motorbikes ripped through Otapiri Gorge as Farm Jam 2014 kicked off.

Three thousand bike enthusiasts were treated to stunt shows from all disciplines - motocross, freestyle and BMX.

Event co-ordinator Brett Frew said it was the biggest and best Farm Jam since the event began seven years ago.

"The turnout of overseas riders is unbelievable, they love coming and we gladly turn it on for them," he said.

Southlanders' philanthropic spirit was united under the Cancer Society's annual fundraiser Relay for Life.

Organisers said they had banked more than $100,000 and were expecting more in the coming weeks.

The annual event raises funds for local projects that help those affected by cancer.

Veteran athletes from New Zealand and afar were among the 170 competing at the New Zealand Masters track and field championships at Surrey Park in Invercargill.

The event also drew international competitors from Australia, South Africa and the Cook Islands, but few rivalled 79-year-old Christchurch thrower Iris Bishop, who had competed at all 40 previous editions of the championships.

The four-day event finishes today.

Meanwhile, Wai Try competitors braved the weather and a rising Waihopai River level yesterday with seven family-orientated events.

From children's events to 30km mountain bike rides, the events aimed to engage families in exercise while "enjoying the last days of summer".

Crowds huddled around golf greens to watch the New Zealand Open in Arrowtown during the weekend, and Southern Steel hosted the Queensland Firebirds at the newly opened ILT Stadium Southland. amanda.parkinson@stl.co.nz

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