Balclutha’s new Centennial Park grand opening on Saturday was labelled a spectacular success by organisers.

Organisers estimated about 400 people from around the district came to the new playground and dog training park from 10am in hot weather to try out the new facilities and enjoy a community barbecue hosted by sponsors and supporters, with Radio Hokonui’s Luke Howden as MC.

Families chatted and children swarmed on the colourful new playground, but perhaps the most inspiring moment was the mass warm-up before the annual Night ’n Day-sponsored rainbow run.

There were cheers as an impressive crowd of all ages joined fitness instructors from Cross Recreation Centre to stretch and limber up before embarking on a 5km course marked by colour stations, where volunteers doused the white-clad runners and walkers in vivid pigment powders as they passed.

Sport Otago events organiser Isaac Smith said he was delighted with the public turnout.

“It’s awesome to have so much interest for a fitness event and to see the activity generated by the play equipment. We’re very happy with what’s been achieved here today and very grateful for our sponsors helping us do it,” he said.

Helping out at the sponsors’ barbecue were Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan and co-organiser Jared McPhee, who were keen to point out the opening was celebrating completion of the just the first stage of developments at the new recreation area between Balclutha’s Centennial Swimming Pool and historic Naish park.

“I take my hat off to the team that has done so much work for this,” Mr Cadogan said.

“We now have another base for events we can be proud of in our growing district.”

Washes in water . . . Balclutha Volunteer Fire Brigade members hose down the rainbow runners. PHOTOS: NICK BROOK
Yellow fever . .. Coloured powders hit the runners at five stations over the 5km course.

Powder play . . . Reg, Charlene and Abigail (4) Cloete, of Balclutha, enjoy the day.