Once most of our party had set off to have a rest before the dance I followed Monique and Edan back to Curragh Cottage where we found David and Sonya, as well as Falma and Claudia, who had spent the day baking in the cottage kitchen. It was nice to have a chance to sit down and rest for a while though it wasn’t long before Edan started popping out and in, starting to get things sorted for the dance.
As he was heading back out the door on one of these occasions I asked him if he needed any help. He hesitated for a moment before saying that yes he did, grateful I think for the offer. Before I knew it we were carrying kitchen things down the street towards the hall where the dance was to be held. On another trip down I must have been a particularly odd spectacle as I was armed with a portrait of Queen Victoria (which, I felt I had to carry perfectly straight and forward facing).
In the hall, we needed to move the tables and chairs and while Edan headed back up the street for more of what we needed I busied myself carrying chairs about. That was actually a reasonable workout and by the time Edan returned (with a loaded wheelbarrow), I had decided that it was time to change my bodice. Ducking off into the ladies’ I was able to change pretty quickly and was glad that I had thought through my attire enough that I wasn’t having to change into a completely new outfit. I was also grateful that I had remembered to bring everything I needed with me.
Jim and Jen arrived with the rest of their group and set about getting the music sorted and reorganising the tables to offer more room for dancing. As they were doing that everyone else started arriving and claiming seats at different tables. I ended up at a table with Sandra, Diane, Lindsey, Kathleen, and Maree and Scott.
We were welcomed to the dance by Edan who thanked everyone for coming and told us that we had raised $200 for Riccarton House. He then ducked back into the kitchen to continue tending to the dinner and the first dance was announced.
Some of the dances I knew or were vaguely familiar with and others were completely new to me. Jim and Jen gave us a run through before each of the dances which helped enormously. I really enjoyed the Circassian Circle and the OXO Reel. We ran through a few dances before dinner was ready to be served. My vegetarian self had no difficulty as Edan had made sure to have vegetarian options available over the course of the evening for Jen and myself.
Over the course of the evening, I was asked to dance a few times, which was super lovely considering that doesn’t usually happen. I did end up dragging Maree up to the dance floor on a couple of occasions because I didn’t want to miss out on the St Bernards Waltz or the Military Two Step since they’re still my favourite dances.
The one thing that I absolutely loved about the whole evening is how everyone pitched in to help out wherever they could. We had people clearing plates off the table, serving out pieces of cake, basically anywhere that a hand could be leant someone jumped in straight away. Maree stood in as our ‘official photographer’ too. As the dance came to a close there was no hesitation in returning tables and chairs to where they came from, sorting out the rubbish and recycling, folding up tablecloths or stacking dishes.
I remember just taking this in, thinking just how wonderfully supportive our little community was and that moment is going to stay with me for quite some time. Being overtired at the time I found it a little overwhelming just how strong the feeling of community was.
When most of the hall had been set back to rights, everyone slowly started departing. Since I was staying until the very last, with Edan and Monique, I ended up standing out on the steps of the hall saying goodbye to everyone and waving at all of the cars. It was so lovely to be able to say ‘see you in Oamaru’, knowing that it wasn’t going to be a whole year later as it usually is.
We made the last trip of the weekend up the street to return what needed to be returned and then loaded up what was going back to Edan’s into the car. Everything else sorted, Monique, Edan and I said goodbye to Lindsey (who so kindly took all of the recycling with him), and hopped in the car. We had had the hall booked until midnight and when I looked at the clock in the car it read 11:51. My goodness, without everyone pitching in we definitely wouldn’t have made it!
Overall, the weekend was absolutely amazing. I enjoyed every moment of it (the only thing that I didn’t enjoy was being picked up on Monday morning at 6:20am for my flight back to reality…). It was so enjoyable to spend time with and get to know some of the Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebration regulars better. Definitely, the dance and punting on the Avon were absolute highlights, as was the cosy Friday night.
I loved that I was able to be helpful here and there over the course of the weekend and I have a new found appreciation for the time, energy, and hard work that anyone who organises events puts in. Considering that this is the first time that this event has been run I am definitely looking forward to seeing it grow and get even better. I will absolutely be back next year. And, I know that I’ve said it a lot but I just have to thank Edan again for organising such a wonderful, unforgettable Easter.
You can read all other parts of this lovely weekend here: