It was from the humblest of beginnings that one of the world's biggest winter events was born and in the process transformed Queenstown into an international resort.
The Queenstown Winter Festival celebrates 40 years this year, but in 1975, it was a small group of locals who had tired of being bored in the long quiet winter months and decided to do something about it.
In those days the snow season didn't get underway until late July. There was one skifield, Coronet Peak. and snowmaking machines were decades away.
Queenstown musician Peter Doyle and local pub manager Laurie Wilde pulled together a team of keen residents and tourism operators for a party. Their premise was to have some fun and hopefully generate some publicity about the upcoming winter season.
Clive Geddes was on that first committee and fondly recalls the first mad-cap event.
"There was cow-pat throwing and waiters' races, with all the hospitality workers running through the streets balancing trays of champagne," Mr Geddes said.
Jenny McLeod was a budding local journalist in 1975. She was dispatched to report on the cow-pat throwing competition and was quickly roped in as a contestant.
"Bill Tapley owned the CattleDrome. He spent the whole year freezing cow-pats and when I turned up, I was told to line-up and have a go. The rest is history. I threw mine and I won."
Mrs McLeod said another memory from that year was the wheelbarrow race. She was pushed along by Alan Bradey, who, years later, would pioneer Central Otago's wine industry.
"He was on roller skates and you can imagine the carnage at the end of the race as these wheelbarrows and guys on roller skates hit the finish line."
The success of that first year spurred the organising committee on and by the late 1970's the Queenstown Winter Festival was a firm fixture on the calendar.
Stuart McLean was one of the early volunteers who helped run the event. He said by the mid-1980's Queenstown was really booming as a ski destination, but the festival held true to its roots.
"There were no OSH regulations in those days. We used to send people careering down Man Street on homemade trolleys. How someone didn't die I'll never know," Mr McLean said.
As the 1990's dawned it was clear the event could no longer be run by volunteers and one of the first paid festival directors was David Kennedy. He said he had no idea how to run an event and asked what could be done to secure a stage.
"The reply was simple, you ring Northern Southland Transport and give them a slab of beer and they'll bring around a truck," Mr Kennedy said.
Road closures weren't a problem then either. There was none of the red tape and bureaucracy which surrounds a major event of today.
"I just wrote a one page letter to the council telling them I wanted to close half the roads in the town for ten days and they wrote back saying - no problem," Mr Kennedy said.
Radio New Zealand presenter Wayne Mowat said he loved covering the festival.
"I recall the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra on a barge in the middle of the lake. Then just at the right moment Sir Tim Wallace swooped down out of the snowy clouds and dive bombed the lake in his Spitfire. I thought I had died and gone to heaven it was so magic," Mr Mowat said.
In 1999 the festival almost went bust. David Kennedy who was by that time the chief executive of Destination Queenstown said the event had been contracted out to private enterprise and it didn't go according to plan. The festival director Lindsay Singleton left town the night the festival opened and while the event went ahead he left a trail of debt and misery in his wake.
"I think that it survived that episode shows how important the festival is to Queenstown because ultimately at its heart is the local community. It really is their event," Mr Kennedy said.
Phillip Chandler, local Mountain Scene journalist, said sponsorship has enabled the festival to offer as many as 70 different events, most of them free.
"There is no way you could do that without the family of sponsors the organisers who have pulled together over the years."
Today, the Queenstown Winter Festival is a slick machine welcoming over 45,000 visitors to the town. It generates $57 million for the local economy.
Festival director Lisa Buckingham said the event is in good heart and while some tweaking may be needed to keep it relevant in future years there's no reason why it won't keep going to see another 40 years.