The Alexandra Blossom Festival has been part of the springtime landscape for so long that we might forget that it did not appear until 1957.
There had been various other events- Queen Carnivals and the like- for patriotic purposes or other fundraising schemes, but the Blossom Festival broke new ground.
Its beginnings could not have been more modest. In March 1957 the Alexandra Junior Chamber of Commerce advised the council that it proposed to hold a blossom festival week in September. The proceeds were to form the nucleus of a fund for new swimming baths. The letter gave particulars of the festival and asked for the council’s support, and for a representative on the committee. The council commended the initiative and Cr Lopdell was appointed to the committee.
Early in September, the Jaycees, as the Junior Chamber had then become applied to have the streets along the route of its blossom festival procession, on September 28, closed to other traffic.
The Mayor, Mr G R Campbell, stated that he thought ‘Blossom Week’ was likely to be a pretty big effort for the town and would attract some distinguished visitors. Sir Leonard and Lady Wright, the mayor and mayoress of Dunedin, had accepted an invitation to be present. The mayor suggested that the council should entertain the visitors at some small function.
After the festival, the council resolved to donate the amount of £92 7S due for hall and ground rent to the festival committee. Cr Lopdell reported that there was over £1,500 in hand. A letter was sent to the committee congratulating it “on the wonderful success of Blossom Festival Week” and extending the council’s thanks for the fine service to the community.
Taken from ‘A Place in the Sun’ (1990) by Gordon Ramage