Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations attract crowds in New Zealand

Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations attract crowds in New Zealand

People dressed in vintage clothes attend the Victorian Heritage Celebrations 2020 in Oamaru, New Zealand, Nov. 14, 2020. (Xinhua/Lu Huaiqian)

Locals and visitors enjoy a range of events from Wednesday to Sunday including historical talks, dances, garden parties and penny farthing races.

OAMARU, New Zealand, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) — Crowds of people lined up the streets in New Zealand’s Victorian era style quaint city Oamaru to see the Grand Street Parade, the 26th heritage bicycle championships and other amazing performances with Victorian ladies and gentlemen for the Victorian Heritage Celebrations on Saturday, first of its kind in New Zealand since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations occur every year in early November. Locals and visitors enjoy a range of events throughout the week including historical talks, dances, garden parties and penny farthing races.

Oamaru is full of grand Victorian architecture, traditional rural buildings and beautiful gardens, making it the perfect location to explore the Victorian era and celebrate the city’s ancestors.

People dressed in vintage clothes attend the Victorian Heritage Celebrations 2020 in Oamaru, New Zealand, Nov. 14, 2020. (Xinhua/Lu Huaiqian)

The Victorian Heritage Celebrations 2020 is held from Wednesday to Sunday, with an official grand opening of Ships, Sheep and Grain Walking Tour and Steam & Rail Workshop on Wednesday. The gorgeous gowns, steam engines and penny farthings come out on again. Grand Street Parade and the 26th heritage bicycle championships on Saturday were the highlights of the events.

As New Zealand’s foremost heritage cycling event, there will be high drama as riders participate in sprints, slaloms, relays, slow races, and the ghastly Tyne Street Grunter in heritage bicycle championships.

COVID-19 alert and strict lockdown made it difficult to decide whether the event would go ahead this year. Fortunately, New Zealand relaxed its COVID-19 restrictions by moving from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 1 on Sept. 21, thanks to early success in controlling the pandemic. At Alert Level 1, everyone can return to work, school, sports and domestic travel, without gathering restrictions.

The number of participants in Victorian costumes in parades and other activities this year exceeded 400, the highest in history, Victorian Heritage Celebrations co-ordinator Anisha Lee said.

People dressed in vintage clothes attend the Victorian Heritage Celebrations 2020 in Oamaru, New Zealand, Nov. 14, 2020. (Xinhua/Lu Huaiqian)

However, border restrictions and good hygiene are required at Alert Level 1. It means overseas visitors have difficulties to travel to New Zealand. The number of Chinese tourists watching the festival has decreased significantly compared with last year. Last year, 10 percent of the audience was Chinese. China was the second largest overseas tourism market of New Zealand in 2018 and 2019.

“The difficulties are temporary. I believe that after the epidemic passes, the number of Chinese tourists will recover and even increase,” said Ace Liu, marketing specialist of Tourism Waitaki Ltd., which recruited Liu to focus on the Chinese market. Oamaru is the largest town in the Waitaki District.

People dressed in vintage clothes attend the Victorian Heritage Celebrations 2020 in Oamaru, New Zealand, Nov. 14, 2020. (Xinhua/Lu Huaiqian)■

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