Auckland's summer of high-profile events keeps rolling on. This weekend the city is again a place spoiled for choice for festive crowds.
The Blues' home Super 15 game last night and the twin Bruce Springsteen concerts at Mt Smart stadium, coupled with the start of Auckland Cup Week in both forms of racing have again produced a squeeze on accommodation and a boom for the hospitality industry.
By yesterday, visitors from down country were reporting difficulties in getting central hotel bookings and in one instance a well-heeled adult was heading for a downtown back-packers' lodge for the night after the Springsteen concert this evening. The two events at Mt Smart will attract 40,000 people each. The star is expected to vary his performances and some fans have reportedly chosen to attend both concerts to get the total package, given his absence from Auckland for a decade.
Last night's start of Auckland Cup Week at the harness racing at Alexandra Park and today's Derby Day at Ellerslie kick off in style one of the better innovations to the city's calendar. When the bold decision was taken to move the two Auckland Cups to late February and early March - from their home at the height of the summer holidays - there was a real risk that both carnivals would flop. Yet the Auckland Cup on a work-day Wednesday at Ellerslie is a firm favourite on the corporate hospitality circuit and the multiple events across the week have given racing a real buzz.
Aucklanders and visitors alike should welcome every golden summer opportunity.