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Blossom Queens back on parade

Blossom Queen

With a week to go the countdown is on to this year’s Blossom Fest – Hastings’ three-day extravaganza celebrating the beginning of Spring.

As usual the highlight event is the parade where about 50 floats will wend their way through central Hastings, bringing lots of noise and colour, starting from outside the Hastings library at 1pm.

A special feature of the floats this year, to mark the 150th anniversary of Hastings’ founding is the appearance of eight former Blossom Queens who will travel in open-top vintage cars provided by the Vintage Car Club.

A Blossom Queen contest was added to the annual parade in 1957 and ran for 17 years, open to unmarried women aged between 18 and 28.

They would be required to attend events and be assessed on their decorum and ability to interact with the public – essentially testing their potential to be an ambassador for Hastings and represent the region.

The winner became an instant celebrity and would spend the following year performing a variety of official duties.

Former Blossom Queens spanning the years from 1959 to 1973, a couple of them coming from as far as Australia and Auckland, will attend the festival.

They will also have a high tea at Mangapapa Hotel, who are sponsoring the occasion, and Cameo Beauty is sponsoring some pamper sessions among a number of activities arranged for them.

Deputy mayor Tania Kerr said she was looking forward to meeting and welcoming these special guests.

“The crowning of the Blossom Queen each year was a highlight of the parade in years gone by.

“Being crowned a Blossom Queen was quite the accolade, and I understand was a serious commitment.

“These women became leaders in our community and it opened up some wonderful experiences, including travelling overseas.

“We are really excited to welcome them to the festival this year so keep an eye out and give them a wave when you see them in the parade.”

As well as the parade, there’s a whole host of free activities and events happening over the three days starting on Friday night, September 22, including live music, street performances, carnival rides, an outdoor movie and more.

Go to https://www.hastingsdc.govt.nz/hastings-blossom-fest/ for all the details.

15 September 2023

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