23 Aug 2008

Revellers head to Stewart Island for social event of the year

9:44 pm on 23 August 2008

Extra flights and ferry services from Invercargill and Bluff were put on to cope with large numbers of people heading to the social highlight of the year on Stewart Island.

The annual singles ball was to be held in Oban on Saturday night.

One attendee, Leanne Shaw of Colic Bay near Invercargill, was attending with her three friends. Speaking before the event, she said she was not "on the prowl".

It is the third ball for Ms Shaw and she says it is a good night with friends rather than a mission to find Mr Right.

Her friend Lydia Brunton also went to the ball last year, and she told Checkpoint she would be back again on Saturday, expecting a good atmosphere.

Islander Jo Leask says the ball is a chance to have fun and listen to live music. She says the organiser set it up in 2005 because of a lack of women at the local bar.

"There were more women than men last year, which was quite funny because the singles ball started when Doug Beck was disheartened about all the guys dancing together at the pub," she says.

Seafood supper

Mr Beck says the idea was thought up while with his mates at the pub. He has been organising this year's event for about nine months with the help of friends.

He says the ball will see 250 people fill the South Sea Hotel where they will be entertained.

"We will have two bands, a continuous seafood supper with crayfish, mussels, paua and muttonbirds, a few surprises and giveaways, then at 3am we have a big bonfire on the beach."

Last year's event was attended by travellers from Hawaii, Texas, Germany and the Netherlands.

Part of this year's funds will be gifted to the Cancer Society.