I was putting the finishing touches on our February/March issue this week when something caught my eye – an event listed in our “What’s On” pages for the Wellington edition (which covers the bottom of the North Island, not only Wellington, by the way). It’s the upcoming Gumboot Day in Taihape, which takes place on 4 March. Now, I know you’re still coping with back-to-school stresses and you probably don’t want to think about what February holds, let alone March, but let me just repeat: GUMBOOT DAY. A whole day devoted to celebrating the humble gumboot.
My God, I love New Zealand.
My all-time favourite part of the event listing is at the very beginning (and those of you who get the Wellington edition of Tots to Teens will see this): “Gumboot throwing competitions: Children, youth, open, masters.” MASTERS. I don’t know what it takes to enter the gumboot-throwing masters round, but I need to find out.
Further along is info about the North Island Gumboot Throwing Championships, which I confess I did not know existed, and which I am now wholly invested in learning about.
Again, I love New Zealand.
So that got me thinking: What other weird and wonderful (emphasis on the wonderful) celebrations does New Zealand have?
Well, Hamilton has the Great Pumpkin Carnival, which includes competitions for the heaviest pumpkins, most perfect pumpkins, best pumpkin pies, and more – including pumpkin racers. I don’t know what that is but I think I need to go find out.
Dunedin has the Cadbury Chocolate Carnival, which is certainly wonderful because CHOCOLATE and yet also contains the weird – I’m talking about the Jaffa Race down Baldwin Street. (Which I bought tickets for a few years ago in the hopes I’d win the race with my numbered jaffas, just for the sheer joy of knowing that I had jaffas in that race. I had no idea what the prizes might have been, and I didn’t care. It was all about being part of the fun.)
And Auckland has something called Meatstock , a music and meat festival, which is exactly what it sounds like (bring an appetite).
I am sure there are more out there, and that’s where you come in: Please, please tell us about these cool and interesting, weird and wonderful festivals and expos and celebrations. Go to totstoteens.co.nz/events and post yours – and then I will know how to plan my holidays for this year, because clearly I need to attend all of the above. I mean, gumboot-throwing, pumpkin pie, Jaffa racing, and eating meat? Sounds like a couple of awesome weekends to me!