As we tuck away yet another festive season and return to the daily grind I will look back fondly on my holiday after enjoying some great grassroots Kiwi summer fun.
While the farmers won't share my sentiment, having the big yellow on show non-stop was fantastic for getting outside and there was plenty of 4WD-ing, hunting, boating and camping crammed in.
My overwhelming highlight in today's overly officious world of liquor bans, exorbitant ticket prices, airport security-like bag searches and highly regulated closing hours was the Glenorchy Races.
This long-standing local favourite shines brightly as a beacon of carefree summer exuberance among a fun-policed world of political correctness.
Summers used to be a magnificent time to let our hair down and get stuck into a great assortment of iconic events around the country.
Kiwis also traditionally held little fear when it came to creating their own fun, often in the most spectacularly innovative ways.
I recall fondly memories of the long summer days entertaining ourselves over a few tri stars in the bull ring at the Arrowtown camping ground, hot dusty country fun at the Te Anau and Wanaka rodeos, some pretty rowdy nights listening to some great Kiwi rock acts at the Hawea pub, plenty of hunting and fishing and of course some mad days on the ski biscuit.
Nowadays it all feels a little too organised and over-policed. There is a speed limit, closing time and rule book longer than the line for Winnies on New Year's Eve for everything. Free entertainment is becoming sparser than the trophy cabinet at Australian Rugby HQ with everyone trying to clip the ticket along the way.We are herded like livestock with fluoro wrist bands instead of ear tags, directed between fences by security guards in high vis overseen by the ever watchful eye of men in blue.
I don't go to concerts anymore. Braving the hordes of young hooligans, long lines for two plastic cups of lukewarm beer, ridiculous prices and painful after-match experiences battling for taxis or arguing with door staff sucks the enthusiasm out of me faster than the El Nino summer parches the southern pastures.
Some would argue we have ruined our own fun - and to an extent this is true. Many of today's youths have the social skills of a demented wombat and their idiotic behaviour and general moronism has encouraged heavy-handed self-important rule makers to protect us from ourselves.
It's a sad state of affairs because anyone who attended the Glenorchy Races would have seen how an event with minimal security and few rules was enjoyed in great spirits.
The diverse family-friendly crowd, housed in home-made grandstands and a mish-mash of innovative No. 8 wire camping set-ups, was respectful and sensibly merry, the weather stunning and the entertainment - as always - completely unique. All of it washed down by BYO chilli bins of cold Speight's and closed out by an energetic band playing out of a curtain-slider truck.
Any event where the main role of the local constabulary is to compete in a horse race is a winner in my books.
Mark writes a regular column for the Mountain Scene to view the original click HERE
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