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OPEN COLUMN, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9599, 1 May 1919
This column, each Thursday, will be placed at the disposal of any reader who desires to contribute his. or her, views or experiences on any subjec-t of public interest. Country readers are especially invited to respond.
NO. I.—DOMAIN CARNIVAL.
Perhaps if is a good thing that the Domain Carnival was postponed. The reason given was that it was too late in the year, arid certainly damp and cold are .sure extinguishers of enthusiasm. Perhaps, as a "Guardian" leader remarks, it was just this quality of enthusiasm that was chiefly lacking. It would certainly appear that such was the case. How can anybody be enthusiastic about nothing ? Not that the cause was without a big appeal to every' purse; the cause of the children is one that shall never lack assistance. Surely, then, it was the method of helpin o- the cause.
" Give 'em plenty of pep, Steve," ia the. vernacular that means —get out of the old rut when making a. public anneal, make people eager to feel for their purses (if,that be possible !), mako thorn jostle to get 'near your Domain Carnival, appeal to their imagination, titillate their palate for novelty, amuse instead of boring. " I simply must po to thfl Carnival " should be substituted for " I suppose I should." Instead of tlia-t horrid sense of duty, take the crowd to the Carnival in the expectation of having, a "good rag"—make a Carnival of it, in sfenrjiv''*". The Carnival Committee perhaps will Pfiv. "But we're trying everything." Certainly, everything that has been well tried before, that is old and tiresome. Here is no way to draw_ yonr crowd and raise your fund; here is only apathy and boredom. The way to make this Carnival a success is to get right down to work now —work out idonr,. organise on crescendo scale, and finally crash out the superb finale that spells success. Because the gala cannot be held now. it should not lie fallow and mildew and crumble. The eight or ten months extra could be used to tremendous advantage. First spread the net. wider so as to enclose a bigger haul; next, organise to land it all in one big effort on Carnival Day. If enough attractions are provided, the whole Ashburton County should unload into the Domain on the day; if a real ambitious programme is scheduled, the whole province might be convinced that for Carnival Day its natural focus was Ashburton. Smiles will greet this remark—that is not because it is farfetched, but because Ashburton lacks faith in itself principally, in its power to organise and plan so as to rivet the public gaze. Ashburton should at least be convinced of its ability to do this for a single day. Now all the.Jonahs are asking with their tongues in tKeir cheeks —" How are you going to fetch the crowd, smarty ?" First, there is the old idea of a Queen Carnival. But instead of different interests running their own candidates for royal honours, let the town and surrounding country (that Ims a direct interest in the Domain) be split up "into districts, each booming their own queeri- Thus Easterners could vie with Allenton talk bur to Hampstend,\ Tinwald pull against Netherby. To increase the scope and impetus of the ■ campaign, country districts mi^ht be invited to compete—Methveh. Mayfield, Hinds, or Itakaia—and if they object to., paying into our Domain Fund, let each separate district take out of the " Queen Account" its own contribution for its own candidate. Every fund would benefit by the universal competition and concentrated effort, and each . place could take out its private money, for its own private purposes—whether 'for the local domain, war memorial, school, hall, or whatever.
But if this idea is too tired to start a gallop, there is another full of sly humour that should have a.prefiy big 'backing. Again have your district subdivisions, and attract as many competitors as possible, but this time make a race of it. Itun a Copper Trail on the railway between Ashburton and Chertsev. Put East against West, and it would be engaging to see who made the goal first ! It would be an interesting commentary on the habits of a district —which laid the trail to Chertsev first, or, vice versa, which, lagged home last on the trail from Chertsey to Ashburton. Incidentally, there is big money in the idea for the Domain funds —the winners would have to lay down about 774,144 coppers, or. over £o^oo. which would be rather an expensive jaunt even to Chertsey !
Coming to the Carnival day itself, if there is to be a great array of produce, goods of all descriptions, for sale, there must be a programme to entice a big crowd of purchasers; Here the sports clubs could be asked to help, as they owe much to the Domain. County (or even provincial) bowling, tennis, and croQuet championship tourneys might be jirraneed to attract visitors and yet not hold them from the principal show. Besides running; events, there might be pony races for the children, County Girls' rounders tourney, and so on. But. whatever is done, the main thing is to leave no stone unturned in order to have the crowd stumbling over itself into the Carnival. Make it a live show, and there" will be a real live
To come to the evening. This is the time when the spirit of carnival should be finally released, when the Master of the Revels should direct, and the effort completed in a glorious whirlwind of gaiety., Ashburton is not full of dull j and dreary spirits/that could not enter into such frivolity. We have all heard a great deal, since the war, of cafes in France: and, in America, every night there are tens of thousands of cafes for dancing filled with eager patrons. Imagine the Domain Oval staged. for one night as a huge Cafe Charitant ; imagine the beautiful light effect of hundreds of electric globes, spangling the magnificent background of trees; picture the gay tents and'stalls and side-shows standing out in bold relief; add to this the music 'of bands and orchestra, the white glare over the central stage where an entertainment of cafe-chantant order was in.progress, and you will have the '.beginnings of a real carnival. Add to this a great concourse of people out to enjoy themselves. Further, a great '. novelty might be produced if not only the official workers, but everyone, attended in full-dress fancy costume.
Finally, this anneal is foi- the children. We shmild make no half-hearted appeal. Success can be best won by faith in the means. To realise a sum sufficient to provide paddling pond, games, swimming bath, etc., will require a big campaign, the plans for which will demand full preparation—n preparation for which a period of eight months is not too long.
OPEN COLUMN, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9599, 1 May 1919
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