Christmas meeting to go bang

JAMIE SEARLE
Last updated 05:00 27/11/2012
Racegoers
JOHN HAWKINS/FAIRFAX NZ

FESTIVE SEASON: Racegoers, from left, Hannah Petterson, Rebecca Ellison and Christine Gibb enjoying the Christmas races at Ascot Park last year.

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Two hen parties, a stag do and a couple of birthdays are among bookings for the Christmas Cracker race meeting at Ascot Park, Invercargill, on December 15.

A wide cross-section of the south will be at Southland's biggest raceday of the year. Businesses hold christmas parties at the raceday, as do social clubs, families and groups of friends.

The last of the 80 marquees was snapped up three months ago and 4000 people have prebooked. Southland Racing Club president Sean Bellew thought crowd numbers could swell to 7000 on the day. The course entry fee is $10 for an adult.

''The day's about glamour, we want men and women to dress up,'' Bellew said.

''It's not a day for black jeans.''

Six celebrities will move through the crowd and invite people to enter Fashion in the Field. The value of prizes for Fashion in the Field totals about $4000.

No alcohol can be brought on course. Security personel will check vehicles, bags and barbecues and alcohol found will be confiscated.

''Not even the president can bring alcohol on course,'' Bellew said.

Beer will be sold in cans or in plastic drinking vessels. Public areas will be glass free, except for wine bottles.

Intoxicated people and the sale of alcohol will be watched closely by security and bar staff. Racegoers needing a break from alcohol are to be invited to a rehydration area or removed from the course.

A christian group, the Red Frogs have offered to staff the rehydration area.

Bellew said he wanted a safe and fun environment for all and no disorderly behaviour would be tolerated.

''We have a very strong alcohol and intoxication system in place.''

A St John medical team will be in attendance. The club is hoping to arrange a taxi stand outside the main entrance to the racecourse.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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