Republic Day fun for all

After months of searching, Whangamomona's fearless hunters have finally found two unsuspecting ewes within the local boundaries sporting the overly woolly coats needed to contest the Shrek title at the Whangamomona Republic Day celebrations this Saturday.

They will be shorn on Saturday afternoon and spectators can vie for prizes by guessing the weight of the fleece and of the animal.

The Republic, now in its 24th year, has a long line-up of events doing it the 'Whanga way'. There will be demonstrations on sheep shearing, possum skinning, wood chopping and whip cracking, to name some. To see if you could master some of the skills, enter the entertaining 'chop a log, dung a nail, and throw a gumboot' competitions on the day.

For even more adrenalin, see if you can master 'the hill' in the gut-buster trail, which usually draws huge crowds, or the Whanga fear factor for a close encounter with eels (eating and drinking 'something' mandatory).

For those not competing there are sweepstake sheep races and a variety of Whanga produce to sample at the Made in Whanga stall, including jams and chutneys and hand crafts.

Stratford District Council will run two buses to the event. The price is $6 return including a passport for entry into the Republic. The bus will leave the car park at 11am and return at 3pm. Tickets are available from the Stratford i-Site (seats are limited). For others entry is $5, which includes a stamped passport. For current passport holders the entry fee is $5, and 50c to get the passport stamped. Under-fives are free.

Visitors are advised to bring loads of cash as eftpos facilities in town are limited.

There will be plenty of food and drink to buy, ample parking and, for the kids, a water slide and bouncy castle. There is also entertainment by a hip hop dance group, dog trials, Little Miss and Master Whanga, and the election of the president.

Reigning president Murt 'Murtle the Turtle' Kennard is still uncontested and candidates are invited for a presidential show down on the day. Phone (06) 762 5552 for nomination forms.

Fore more information, see the Whangamomona Republic Day Facebook page.

- Stratford Press

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