Crazy hats and elaborate costumes transformed Woodville as locals and visitors alike embraced the town's Mad Hatters' Day on Sunday.

Organiser Sharon Brass of Woodville Districts' Vision was pleased with how the day had gone and said it is definitely booked in for next year.

Sunday's event was only the third time it has been held, but Brass hopes that it will become bigger and better.

"Fountaine Square is such an amazing place, the beautiful big trees and the rotunda make it a special place," Brass said.

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Taking second place in the best costume competition was Lorraine Edgar of Feilding, left, seen with Tararua Mayor Tracey Collis and winner Dannevirke midwife Bridie Thomas from Palmerston North.
Taking second place in the best costume competition was Lorraine Edgar of Feilding, left, seen with Tararua Mayor Tracey Collis and winner Dannevirke midwife Bridie Thomas from Palmerston North.
Tararua District Councillor Peter Johns announces Maire Thompson of Ashhurst as the winner of the best hat.
Tararua District Councillor Peter Johns announces Maire Thompson of Ashhurst as the winner of the best hat.

"And it was great to see the children using the play equipment."

The market atmosphere extended throughout the entire town and all the cafes reported plenty of customers.

"The Mad Hatters' Day is a chance to raise awareness of what Woodville has to offer."

This year the community hall was opened up for stallholders, but Brass said next year she would encourage all the stallholders to set up in the square.

Stalls were also set up in the town's Old Folks' Hall but this was for a special hall fundraiser.

Winner of the best child's hat was Liam Sheriff of Woodville with his dragon hat and wings that was made for an Ashhurst School production of Shrek in which Liam was the dragon mama.
Winner of the best child's hat was Liam Sheriff of Woodville with his dragon hat and wings that was made for an Ashhurst School production of Shrek in which Liam was the dragon mama.

Last year's event was a big success despite the day being cold and wet.

This year a bad weather forecast the day before meant a number of stallholders who had booked stalls decided not to attend.

"There were 90 stallholders booked in but a lot of them didn't turn up which was disappointing. The forecast said there would be heavy rain in the Tararuas, but that's not us.

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"You just don't know until the day what is going to happen, but overall it was very successful."

Despite some stallholders not turning up, there was a great variety of stalls and those who did turn up were happy with how the day had gone, Brass said.

Ashhurst stallholders Nicky Walker and Maire Thompson attended last year's Mad Hatters' Day and said they love the event.

"It's a really good day out and it's a chance to create a hat," said Thompson.

Thompson's business is Snapper Creations, and is mainly photography-based, while Walker sells handcrafts and knitwear under the label Made with TLC by Nicky.

A Feilding steam train, which stops in Palmerston North to pick up passengers brought 60 visitors to the event.

Next year it will bring 560 visitors.

Brass said train seats are booked out as soon as they go on sale.

Amelia Bethell, 12, of Waiouru, entertained with her trumpet playing. Holding her music was Claralyce Lockie 11, of Waikato. Amelia and her family are in the process of moving to Woodville.
Amelia Bethell, 12, of Waiouru, entertained with her trumpet playing. Holding her music was Claralyce Lockie 11, of Waikato. Amelia and her family are in the process of moving to Woodville.

Woodville Districts' Vision is behind the Mad Hatters' Day and members would like to see some of the town's new residents become involved.

"There are so many new people in Woodville and through organising the event I've met some of them but we would like new, younger members to get involved."

This was the first time that Brass has been involved in organising the Mad Hatters' Day, with the help of others, and she is happy to take on the task again to give it some continuity.

The best hat and best costume competitions were well supported, making Tararua mayor Tracey Collis's job of judging them difficult.

Winner of the best hat was Maire Thompson of Ashhurst while Dorothy Johhnstone of Woodville was second.

In the children's competition Liam Sherriff,11, of Woodville was first and Natalia Paterson, 3, of Dannevirke was second.

Winner of the best costume was Dannevirke midwife Bridie Thomas of Palmerston North and second was Lorraine Edgar of Feilding. Both are members of Steampunk Palmy.