Kids embrace the fun zone

Lucas Tretheway (5) plays in the blocks room at the ILT Kidzone Festival.

AFTER a one-year hiatus, due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the ILT Kidzone festival returned to Invercargill, at a new venue, for the school holidays.

With about 170 activities for all tastes and ages, and running over six days, the event at Southland Girls’ High School must rank as one of the largest of its kind.

Festival director Karen Witham was excited with the turnout.

When last year’s event was canned, it allowed the wider festival team an opportunity to reimagine the festival and consider a new venue, she said.

“I guess it was a mutual agreement between James Hargest [College] and the event [organisers] to look for a new location so we approached Southland Girls’ and they were super keen [to host] and they could see the marketing opportunity of having the youth coming through. I think, in the end, it worked really well.”

The event attracted about 1800 people per day with a range of activities including bike rides, zorbs, bouncy castles and craft workshops.

Ms Witham believed there was an increase in the number of people attending from other regions this year after a marketing campaign as about 25% of the tickets were from people outside of Invercargill, she said.

“There is a huge increase in out-of-town visitors and they are leaving overwhelmed at not realising what they really were coming to,” she said.

“There is nothing like it anywhere else.”

Te Anau resident Alisson Douglas took her daughters Ruby and Eva to the event for the first time.

“We are super excited we managed to come,” she said.

They expected to stay the whole day, enjoying all the activities, but they had made a list of priorities.

“We came prepared to not miss out on anything,” she said.