Future of Miss Caroline Bay competition for review after low turnout

Miss Caroline Bay contestants, from left, winner Tayla Porter of Herbert, and Stacey Jackson of Dunedin.

Miss Caroline Bay contestants, from left, winner Tayla Porter of Herbert, and Stacey Jackson of Dunedin.

Dwindling entries may mean the end of the Miss Caroline Bay competition even as big crowds continue to enjoy the Caroline Bay Carnival, an organiser suggests.

However, the competition winner believes a few changes to the traditional format could make it more popular. 

The Miss Caroline Bay competition has been a regular feature of the carnival for decades.

It was held at the Caroline Bay Soundshell on Saturday but this year attracted just two entries. There were three entrants last year.

Caroline Bay Association president Warren Barker commended the entrants but said it was a "bit disappointing" more had not entered.

The association would assess whether the event would continue in the future.

"It's an embarrassment for the contestants and it's an embarrassment for us as well."

The association tried to entice entrants from outside the district, including Christchurch and Dunedin, with advertisements in local newspapers in the leadup to the carnival.

"We tried to get entries, we had ladies going around the Bay trying to drum up some entries, [sent ads] to modelling schools in Christchurch."

It may be make or break time for the contest: "I think we've got to seriously look at whether we continue with that contest."

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In the past "a dozen people or more" would have entered. Barker remained unsure as to why the numbers had dropped.

"Look I don't know, just the times I guess ... it might not be the thing to do in this era."

Both this year's entrants were from outside South Canterbury. Winner Tayla Porter was from Herbert, while runner up Stacey Jackson was from Dunedin.

Porter, 16, studies by correspondence. She said it felt "absolutely amazing" to win the competition for the fourth time, having entered five times in total. 

She believed more people would enter the competition if it included day and evening wear instead of swim wear. 

"Because girls my age don't feel comfortable about their bodies."

She was planning on making the suggestion to the organisers - along with a suggestion the event be held on any day other than New Year's Eve. 

Elsewhere on the Bay Carnival event listing, the New Year's Eve concert enjoyed a wonderful turnout, he said. 

The crowd packed around the Caroline Bay soundshell to the extent many said they had not seen such a large crowd there in years.

The crowd spilled out onto the beach for the fireworks display after. 

Overall, the association was thrilled with crowd numbers since the carnival started on Boxing Day.

"It's very hard to judge from one year to another, but if you get a lovely day you get several thousand people on the bay."

Midge Marsden was due to play at the soundshell on at 7pm Sunday, just before the final appearance of the Queen of the Carnival from 7.50pm.

The carnival concert on Monday will feature Jackie Clarke, Chet O'Connell and Rikki Morris, on a day that will start with the children's pet parade at 11am.


 - Stuff


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