Gala day fun at Pyes Pa

By Genevieve Helliwell


A community celebration spanning seven decades is set to host its biggest event with an aerial display from vintage aircraft, fire truck rides and a chance to smash a Holden or Ford.

The annual Pyes Pa School Calf Club and Gala Day, on Saturday, will host a raft of activities for townies and country-folk alike.

"This is the 77th year and it's going to be great. There's plenty of activities and, of course, the animal judging, and we're looking forward to a great event," said school PTA co-president Robyn McCarroll.

The day will kick off at 8am with the Calf Club judging. Students can bring their calves, lambs and goats and show them off. Sometimes students have brought rabbits or chickens too, Mrs McCarroll said.

"We've got a reasonable number of animals this year and there's a lot from the local community coming along to that.

"After the judging, most of the animals will go but there will be a petting zoo so town kids who don't get to see calves and lambs up close can do that," she said.

From 10am, the Gala Day will begin and the activities will continue throughout the day, until it ends at 3pm.

One of the highlight events is an aerial display, with vintage aircraft from Classic Flyers. This is scheduled for about 1.30pm.

Chief executive Andrew Gormlie planned to use a North American AT-6 Harvard and a Russian Yak-52 in the display, as they created "a fair bit of noise".

"It got rained off last year so we plan to do it this year and it will be a bit of fun," he said.

It might be an idea to bring a spare set of clothes because there will be a paintball activity, as well as pony rides, digger rides and lawn mower races.

Other activities include a nail drive, face painting, student musical display, golf drive challenge, crazy bike challenge, bouncy castles and a variety of stalls, hosted by students at the school and community organisations.

The local fire brigade will host a demonstration and children will be able to go for a ride in an old fire engine.

Car enthusiasts will get to smash a car with a hammer - Holden fans can smash a Ford and Ford fans can smash a Holden, Mrs McCarroll said.

"There will be a variety of things to smash with, a sledge hammer and various other hammers ... and people can hit until their hearts' content," she said.

"Another thing we've got is a scissor lift that will take people 16m into the air.

"We've got an amazing view from the school that looks out over the Mount and the land, so people who come along will get to do that, which is quite special."

School staff are heavily involved in the event, with principal Brendan Clarkin and other staff volunteering to take part in the sponge-throw a teacher game.

Mrs McCarroll said the money raised in the annual fundraiser would go towards upgrading the school's computer suite.

"The computers we've got here are old and a lot of the classrooms haven't got working computers so this will help us upgrade the computer suite and give kids more access to IT," she said.

"We've got the wiring and cabling there so now we need new computers, so we can use the broadband."

Quick-fire raffles will be hosted by the Greerton Lions, there will be a silent auction and prizes up for grabs.

Rain, hail or shine, the annual fundraising will take place at Pyes Pa School.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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