Mardi Gras attendance down, fun factor up

Mardi Gras attendance down, fun factor up

Mardi Gras attendance down, fun factor up

By Miri Schroeter

About 4500 people attended Ohakune Mardi Gras (OMG) on Saturday 25 June, over 2000 less than last year.

Organiser David Williams is unsure why there was a lower turn-out this year but says that the lack of high-profile acts may have been a factor.

“It could have been performers not matching up to expectations.”

People are more likely to attend if there is a good line-up, Mr Williams says.

“It’s a reality that acts need to be great, but the cost of these acts is too high.”

Maintaining entertainment that is relevant to OMG’s largest audience, which are 20 to 24-year-old students, is vital he says.

Mr Williams is unsure of which acts he will bring in next year but says that “OMG is all about the party”.

There were 65 police officers monitoring the event, which is similar to past years, even though there was a substantial decline in the number of partygoers this year.

Police media advisor Gareth Thomas says about a dozen people were processed for drink-driving and the amount of arrests made was similar to last year.

“While we did not detect any serious disorder, there were several arrests for minor offences,” Mr Thomas says.

But he says in general the crowd was well-behaved.

Locals also seemed positive with this year’s event compared to previous years.

Residents Paul and Lori Thompson, who moved to Ohakune last Friday, say they enjoyed the festivities but definitely noticed a large presence of students.

They had heard that in previous years there was more disorderly behaviour.

“The place next to us got trashed, but there hasn’t been anything this year,” Mrs Thompson says.

With a significant drop in attendance the event was less crowded and the clean-up was mostly done throughout Sunday morning.

Contractors were expected to have cleared Ohakune of rubbish by Wednesday when everyone has left town.