The first Ōrewa Beach Wintery Festival has been chalked up as a great success, attracting a large crowd keen to play in the snow and plunge into the chilly surf at the start of school holidays on Sunday, September 24.
Part of the novelty was the 10 tonnes of snow, delivered in two truckloads from Snowplanet to Moana Reserve. While the snow itself cost around $2000, it was dropped off free of charge by Hiway Stabilisers and Golden Transport, just after daybreak. The snowy play area, created with the assistance of Hibiscus Coast Cricket volunteers wielding spades, was a highlight for many of the children.
A cool, overcast day helped set the wintery mood, despite it being the first day of Spring (and start of daylight saving), the day before.
The sea definitely still felt wintery, according to those who plunged in, supervised by Ōrewa Surf Lifesaving volunteers. A total of 88 swimmers (around half of them children) registered for the Polar Plunge, dressing up in wacky costumes and keen to brave the cold water for prizes set offshore inside balloons.
Organisers Destination Ōrewa Beach were “blown away” by the numbers taking part.
Manager Hellen Wilkins says it is definitely an event they would like to run again, if finances allow.
The best dressed adults – The D’Shadows (3 morph suits + cat woman) of Ōrewa and Hatfields Beach
The best dressed under 12’s – The Onesies (7 of them) from Ōrewa.