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Hard work by many achieves gala success



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By Julia Wade

One of the area’s largest attractions, the Mangawhai Domain Summer Annual Gala, celebrated its 40th anniversary recently, making it an historical event and was once again enjoyed by a steady stream of holidaymakers, locals and visitors.

However, with over 200 art, craft, merchandise and food stalls as well as children’s activities, raffles, sponsors and emergency services to organise, such a large scale event could not achieve success without the commendable energy, time and dedication of many.

Gala co-ordinator Carol Parkes says that although the overall management and coordination of the gala falls to the committee and in particular the coordinator, the event just could not run without the 100-plus local volunteers including members from Kaipara Dog Club, men’s golf, Mangawhai Women's Institute, Mainly Music, Mangawhai Tennis Club and from both of Mangawhai’s two football clubs.

“These people turn up beforehand, and on the day, to set up, run stalls, organise raffles, manage the traffic, cook sausages, handle the money, make cups of tea and coffee and pick up the rubbish,” she says. “The oldest was an 82-year-old who helped at the quick-fire raffles and the youngest were local school children who worked the Domain’s sausage sizzle.”

As a condition of the fee structure, all clubs associated with the Domain are required to help on the day.

“This subsidises the clubs fees, keeping them at a reasonable level. The gala is the Domain’s major fundraiser and pays for the day-to-day expenses as well as goes towards the many improvements that have been undertaken.”

Prior to the event, the committee devotes a full day and evening to setting up and marking the stall sites and for many, gala day itself begins at sunrise and only stops 12 hours later when the last piece of rubbish is cleared from the Domain’s grounds. Work still continues over the next few weeks for the organisers however, with additional packing, cleaning of equipment and sorting materials as well as re-booking services and stall holders for the following years event. However the work does not stop there.

“Throughout the year we have considerable bookings and inquiries coming in via our web site… sending stall holders and food vendors the comprehensive ‘Confirmation Gala Pack’, managing the financials and applying for the many licences we now need such as food and music. In October we start looking for volunteers to help on the day and sponsorship for the rides to keep them at an affordable cost for the children to enjoy,” Parkes says.

“November and December are full-on with traffic management plans and finalising activities so we can send out our advertising, and all the other logistics of running such a huge event.”

This is Parkes’ third year of coordinating the Mangawhai gala, a role she enjoys due to the challenge of organising the event. She believes the recent show was a huge success and is hoping the funds raised will be enough to support the running of ‘this fantastic community-owned facility for another year’.

“I love the buzz of the volunteers and local organisations that come together to showcase our awesome community spirit to the many visitors that come to the gala,” she says. “The committee want to send a very big thank you to everyone who helped, in both small and enormous ways. We couldn’t do it without you.”

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1: Large crowds at the Mangawhai Gala once again proves the events ongoing popularity.

2: The challenge of going vertical bungee-style, drew many children seeking an adrenaline buzz.

3: Local fire services demonstrate valuable lessons when faced with fires in the home.

4: Some gala-goers chose to keep out of the sun and enjoyed a relaxing rubdown with Glenfield company, Thai Koon Massage.

5: Always a favourite ride for young festival goers, St John’s ambulance negotiates through the crowded market aisles.

6: One of the most popular events, the quick-fire raffle offered a range of prizes for those lucky enough to draw the winning ticket.

7a,b,c: The vast range of 191 stalls and 18 food vendors, displayed a diverse assortment of merchandise from out-of-this-world garden ornaments, fairy costumes to cryptic road signs and buskers strumming South American tunes.

8: The canines from Kaipara Dog Training Club entertained the crowds with displays of obedience, speed and skill.

9 & 9a: Kerikeri helicopter services, Campbell copters, thrilled many with a birdseye view of Mangawhai in all its beauty, and the gala as it closed down for another year.

The Mangawhai Focus is the only 'Mangawhai' community Newspaper and is the paper of choice within the local area.

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