ABs v France: Full house sign up

TARYN UTIGER
Last updated 05:00 28/05/2013

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Hotels, motels and backpackers across New Plymouth are booked out three weeks ahead of the All Blacks-France rugby test.

Entertainment venues are ready to make the most of the extra people in town.

With only campsites left for people who are still in need of accommodation, Friday and Saturday are set to be busy nights in central New Plymouth.

Peggy Gordons publican Bertie Burleigh invested $80,000 into a street party and is hoping to fit 1500 people into a big-top tent in Egmont St.

"We are expecting this to be a huge weekend," he said.

A section of the street will be closed for three nights and Mr Burleigh said creating an outside performance venue was no easy task.

"You basically have to build a bar outside in the street.

"You've got to have shelter, toilets, lights and fridges and that's all before we even start thinking about the entertainment," he said.

The event required six months of planning, and needed special licences from the New Plymouth District Council, but the publican was sure he would make his money back.

Peggy Gordons hosted a street party during the final of the Rugby World Cup in 2011 but the latest venture would include an event for children as well.

"There's the big reggae night on the Friday with Katchafire and the after-match party on the Saturday, but we also have Titanium playing for kids on the Saturday afternoon," he said.

Other bars around New Plymouth were also trying to pull in customers and maximise their earning potential for the weekend.

The district council received seven applications from premises requesting either a late liquor licence or an extension of encroachment areas.

Despite applications to open until 4am, no late liquor licences were granted and all bars in town would be closed by the normal time of 3am.

Doc Van Praagh, of Crowded House, said the establishment had applied for a late licence but had not received one.

"There will be a lot of Europeans here and Europeans are used to being out late. I think the responsible bars should have been able to get a late licence, but so be it," he said.

Crowded House would be providing free buses to and from the test match for their patrons and staff were gearing up for a big weekend.

"It won't be as big as when the Irish played here but it will still be huge. We are extending the bar out front and we will have a chiller truck out back with extra supplies in it," he said.

Frederic's Monteith's bar will have a street marquee in Egmont St, and The Good Home has a weekend of bands and DJs on the cards.

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Entertainment will continue around the corner at The Mayfair, with Supergroove playing on the Friday night and Black Pearl Burlesque Cabaret on the Saturday night.

"Town will be very, very busy. That's great for the province," Mr Van Praagh said.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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