Party in the Park returns to memorial gardens

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Checking it out .. Festival of the Plain chairman Ian Chalmers and his dog Gipsy check out the trike-a-thon route for Sunday's Party in the Park. PHOTO: GILLIAN VINE

Festival of the Plain chairman Ian Chalmers has his fingers crossed for fine weather on Sunday.

That is the day Party in the Park returns to the Mosgiel Memorial Gardens, after two years in Peter Johnstone Park, and it is important to Mr Chalmers the event goes well.

In part, it is because he took on his present role part-way through last year and is determined Sunday’s event should be a success.

“This is more a boutique venue than Peter Johnstone Park,

“It is much more user-friendly and sheltered, too, with proper toilets and a special enclosed area in the playground for tiny tots.

He said the return to its home ground was a reminder Party in the Park originated some 20 years ago under the leadership of Teresa Christie, as a fundraiser to get equipment for the Mosgiel Memorial Gardens.

The decision to move back was based on an online poll of residents, of whom “about 65% supported Memorial Gardens as the venue.

“There will be close on 50 stalls, with everything from babies’ clothes and jewellery to food.”

Add fire-engine rides for youngsters, face-painting, animals attending with cat and dog rescue volunteers, plus all-day science lab experiences presented by Otago Museum.

As much as possible would be free, he said.

Little ones could take part in a trike-a-thon, run by East Taieri Preschool.

“It’s going to be down towards the playing fields at the west end of the grounds,” he said.

Likely to be the day’s most popular freebie will be Amadeo Enriquez Ballestero’s volcanic eruption, timed to go off about 3.30pm.

The eruption, staged by the museum’s science presentation co-ordinator, is always popular.

“Kids just love it,” Mr Chalmers said.

The committee would welcome help in setting up on party morning from 7.30am.

“And if people want the Festival of the Plain to continue, we need to find more good workers,” Mr Chalmers said, asking anyone interested to contact him on 021-501-861.

Sunday’s Party in the Park runs from 11am until 4pm.

The party is being sponsored by Wal’s Plant Land, which is also holding an event on its own grounds on March 1.