New Zealand equine expo Equifest is stepping up its celebrations of all things equine thanks to a funding boost from the Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund.
In its second year, Equifest will take place at the National Equestrian Centre in Taupō from October 29 to 31, 2021. It promises three days of testing competitions, dazzling entertainment and valuable education for the equestrian community.
The Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund is part of the $50 million Regional Events Fund announced by the New Zealand Government in September 2020 as a result of Covid-19. The purpose of the fund, which focuses on the Waikato, Rotorua, Taupō and Ruapehu regions, is to stimulate domestic tourism and travel between regions through the hosting of events to replace international tourism.
Equifest is the only national event of its type where people come together to connect and share their passion for all equine disciplines and event organisers are committed to growing and improving the event each year.
Equifest Managing Director Ammie Hardie said the strong industry support, advocacy and expertise behind Equifest has ensured the event would return for 2021. “Receiving this funding will give us an incredible boost to make it better than ever.
“We are really aware of the important role Equifest plays in providing a platform for the equine community to learn and celebrate the fantastic industry,” Hardie said.
The funds received from the Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund will be used to attract visitation from the wider regions around the North Island to bring visitors to Taupō along with developing the strategic direction and growth strategy of the event to build on the successes of last years event.’
Despite launching the event last year amidst Covid-19 and border restrictions, Hardie was determined to hold the event, and it attracted more than 11,000 people. With exhibitor enquiries already exceeding expectations and new disciplines and educators locked in, the 2021 event is set to turn Taupō into an equine lover’s dream.
“I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity and support and I am committed to bringing the wider equine community together,” Hardie said.
Deputy mayor Christine Rankin said Taupō is looking forward to welcoming Equifest and its visitors to the district. “We’re thrilled to have the National Equestrian Centre in Taupō offering a world-class facility for many different equestrian disciplines and pursuits.
“Once visitors have enjoyed celebrating and exploring all things equine, we hope you’ll get the chance to dine out at some of our spectacular cafes and restaurants, explore our boutique shops, or enjoy a relaxing soak in the hot pools,” Rankin said.
While the lineup of presenters has not yet been finalised, organisers say some of the country’s most well-known and knowledgeable educators will be sharing their skills and expertise through clinics and demonstrations, and a few new faces are being added to the mix.
The weekend also includes jumping, dressage and western competitions, as well as shopping, with avenues of exhibitors selling everything from horse tack and horse floats to lifestyle products.
There will also be two nights of evening entertainment.
Tickets go on sale from August 1.