It’s Paddy’s festival too

Alana Mackay is convinced having the Cambridge Autumn Festival’s Main Street carnival and art market on St Patrick’s Day will be a huge boost for the event.

Now into its 14th year, the festival kicks off on March 15 and finishes nine days later.

In between there are more events – concerts, bands, children’s events, comedy, art and photo exhibitions, open studios art trail, hands on workshops, activities and literary competitions – than ever before.

Alana Mackay is distributing the Autumn Festival programme. Photo: Mary Anne Gill.

Mackay, who chairs the festival, said the highlight for her was usually the Main Street carnival which packs Victoria Street.

For the first time, it will happen on St Patrick’s Day which is bound to attract more people keen to celebrate Irish culture and all things green.

“We’re trying to plug into that Irish day so put on your green gears and come along.”

Cambridge Rock n Rollers Jim and Pam Berry and other members of the club strut their stuff at last year’s Main Street carnival. Photo: Mary Anne Gill.

An Irish band will be playing in the Rouge courtyard while other musicians, dancers and entertainers perform. Original art, photography, jewellery, pottery, sculpture, woodwork and more will line the street while there will be face painters and have a go activities.

There is also a make a paper bag mask competition for children and families. Entrants will participate in the parade on festival parade on St Patrick’s Day. A festival volunteer has made several masks already including a very good Shrek and a dragon to commemorate the Chinese Year of the Drago.

Originally the vision was to provide an arts festival for Cambridge with an opportunity for the town’s talented artists to show their wares.

In recent years out of towners have also participated in the festival. Last year there were more than 200 entries in the writing competition with the majority from Auckland, followed by Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Canterbury, Southland, Manawatu and Northland.

The photo competition – with its Capture your Waipā Adventure theme – is also expected to attract attention from around the country.

“The festival and the brand are pretty well established in people’s minds now,” said Mackay.

The News is the festival’s media partner and will provide ongoing information about it to readers.

Behind the masks to promote the paper bag mask competition, part of the Main Street carnival on St Patrick’s Day, from left: festival organisers David McCathie, Alana MacKay, Julie Epps and Ray Milner. Photo: Michael Jeans.


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