by Penny Dain
There's a Global Party lined up for the Race Village in the Viaduct during the Auckland Stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race.
Air Balls, part of the Volvo Ocean Race Experience in the Alicante race village.
A rolling programme of entertainment for twelve hours each day - from 9am to 9pm - has been put together for the Stopover which runs from 8 - 18 March. And it's all free.
The days are being themed around the home nations of the participating yachts (that's China, France, New Zealand, Spain, United Arab Emirates and the USA), the next Stopover (Brazil) and the Finish (Ireland), which will be celebrated on St Patrick's Day.
'It's a fantastic theme,' says Port Director Tom Mayo. 'There's a great variety of acts - bands, dancers, singers and entertainers - something to appeal to everyone. We've also put together King Neptune's Trail, a parade with great appeal to families, which will run daily at 6pm from 10 March.'
On St Patrick's Day (Saturday 17 March), the traditional Auckland Parade will reverse its route to start off Queen Street and finish in the Viaduct. The Village will go green for the day with Sharron Shannon heading a top line-up of Irish entertainment.
The Race Village also features the Volvo Experience which is packed with interactive activities for visitors to try including the Race Simulator, the Grinding Challenge and Air Balls on water. There's a chance to Try Sailing with the Volvo Academy or paddle boarding with PUMA. Little ones can drive miniature Volvo pedal cars, trucks and diggers and jump around the world on a special bouncy castle.
The six competing Volvo Ocean 70s yachts will be moored in Pit Lane, offering visitors to the Race Village the opportunity to take a close look at the world's fastest monohulls. Emirates Team New Zealand's entry CAMPER is scheduled to open the boat to the public on 14 March from 4.30 - 8.30pm.
'We’re delighted to bring one of the world’s biggest yacht races to back to Auckland,' says Jennah Wootten, Manager Major Events, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development. 'It's wonderful to be able to offer the Race Village experience to Aucklanders and visitors from other parts of New Zealand and overseas.'
Race Village highlights (all free):
The Global Party: 9am -9pm daily on the PUMA Stage, Te Wero Island
The Volvo Experience: The Ride, 3D cinema, Grinder Challenge, Bouncy Castle, Air Balls & Pool, The Dome
Try Sailing: have a go with free instruction and equipment
Pit Lane: get up close to the world's fastest monohulls
Volvo Pavilion: packed with multimedia and interactive displays and games
DHL NZ Marine Export Showcase: the best of NZ marine export products and services
And much, much more.
The Stoneleigh Bar and Peroni Bar will be open from 11am - 9pm daily on Te Wero island and there will be a variety of different eateries in the Village in addition to the many local cafes, bars and restaurants in the Viaduct.
The full programme for each day will be available on www.volvooceanraceauckland.com