Crowd flocks to carnival
Despite severe weather warnings, the sun shone for Opunake's annual beach carnival yesterday.
Around 1000 people flocked to the coastal campgrounds to enjoy the rides, games, food, prizes, and atmosphere.
The traditional pageants were the main attraction, and after a day of Mr Muscles, Miss Juniors and Miss Teens, Jenna Bellve, 16, was crowned Miss Opunake.
Veteran competitor Meika Pulman from Hawera took home her third consecutive win, this year the title of Miss 6-year-old.
Her prize was an arts and crafts package, donated by the community.
''We have fabulous prizes from local businesses who really support the carnival,'' Trish Anderson from the Lakeside Lions said.
The day was hosted by the women's Lakeside Lions, and the Opunake Lions, and although crowd numbers were down from last year they were happy with the turnout.
''The turnout's excellent considering we had such a hideous downpour last night. I hope the weather holds out,'' Mrs Anderson said.
''The weather might have scared people away.''
The day ran smoothly however the big dig was pushed forward two hours as the high tide threatened to wash away the buried treasure.
Three children took home brand new bikes as prizes in the annual competition.
The rough sea also brought the Opunake Surf Life Saving Club out in force, with over 20 volunteers patrolling the popular beach in shifts.
''We haven't got a very nice beach this year. The guys will be on their toes,'' club chairman Mike Roach said.
The midday high tide and undercurrent rips were a worry for lifeguards, but Mr Roach said he was confident swimmers were in good hands.
''We don't want to have to save anyone, we try to stop it. We stop it by having more people on the beach,'' he said.
The carnival is also the club's main fundraiser for the year and the team put on a barbecue and opened the clubrooms as a cafe.
Taranaki Daily News