Melbourne Cup Day fun close to home

By Sandra Conchie

Celebrating Melbourne Cup Day has become a special tradition in Tauranga and once again pubs and clubs around the city were gearing up to mark the occasion in style.

The Emirates Melbourne Cup field was to start at 5pm today but punters were being encouraged to get dressed in their best glitz and glam outfits and join in the fun-packed festivities earlier.

De Bier-Haus bar and restaurant owner Matt Hayward said last year the bar marked the day with a Melbourne Cup high tea but this year the focus was more on the after-party with the outdoor dining area being transformed into a racing enclosure with decorated tables, astroturf lawn, live music and a big screen to watch the big race.

Festivities were to kick off at 3pm and punters were being encouraged to dress up in their glad rags, join the race crowd and celebrate with specially priced drinks.

"It should be loads of fun," said Mr Hayward.

At Mount Maunganui's Imbibe Bar & Restaurant one of the owners Graham Everest said they were expecting a full house as staff hosted punters from 4pm.

The bar would be decked out in the jockeys' colours with two miniature horses click-clopping around the garden bar adding to the colour.

There was also live entertainment performed by Aaron Blomfield and purchasers of the first 100 Heinekens sold would receive a $1 trifecta ticket.

"It's going to be a fun-packed cup day and a real laugh," he said.

Tauranga Citizens Club and Tauranga RSA were also to hold their own Melbourne Cup celebrations, with non-members welcome to come along.

The club's festivities were to begin at 2pm and include a fashion parade with prizes for the best dressed man and lady. Tauranga RSA celebrations were to start from 11am with a TAB terminal special bar, punters' club, special prizes and sweepstake.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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