It’s been a long, hot summer in Hamilton and we’re pretty stoked for autumn’s promise of cooler weather. And while the weather might be cooling down, the festivities are only getting hotter. There are plenty of events worth clearing your calendar for this March with a beer festival, river swim, retro market, laneway festival, and the return of Hamilton’s iconic Balloons Over Waikato.
To guide you in the right direction, here are eight things to check out this March in Hamilton.
Sunset Cinema: Toy Story 4
Seddon Park’s Sunset Cinema is wrapping up for the season so it’s your last chance to catch a flick underneath the stars. It’s a finale for the young and the young at heart with Toy Story 4 taking the big screen. Pack your picnic blanket and make a night of it with the event featuring live music, food trucks and an on-site bar. Talk about a fun AND romantic date night for two. Grab pre-sale tickets for just $10 ($5 for kids) online here.
Grooves In The Garden Retro Market
March 1 also marks the wrap-up of Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival. The festivities will be going right until the very end with Grooves In The Garden Retro Market. The event prides itself on having a trifecta of “beats, eats and retro beats”. What’s not to love, right? It’s guaranteed to be a trip down memory lane with more than 75 stalls stocking treasures from yesteryears. There will be an epic selection of food trucks and live music will be provided by vinyl DJs playing old-school tunes across two stages.
The Great Kiwi Beer Festival
The Great Kiwi Beer Festival is gracing Hamilton for the first time ever this March. Be part of history as you discover more than 35 craft breweries and cider producers. From pilsner and lager to spiced and fruity, there’s something for every palate with more than 300 drops on offer. The brews will be paired with delectable food from local food trucks and stalls. What’s more, the event offers interactive workshops, beer tasting seminars plus live music from the likes of Dragon, Sons of Zion and Louis Baker.
Drax Project had a total blast opening for Six60 last month in Hamilton—so much so that they’re coming back to The Tron. You’ll hear their jazzy pop tunes at The Factory on Alexandra Street on March 7. Round up your BFFs and dance the night away to All This Time, Woke Up Late and Catching Feelings. And trust us when we say, they know how to bring energy to the stage. Concert and ticket details can be found here.
5 Bridges River Swim
Ever wanted the chance to swim in the mighty Waikato River? Well, 5 Bridges River Swim is your opportunity. First started in 1939, the event is celebrating its 81st birthday this March. You’ll start at the Hamilton Gardens and swim under—you guessed it—five bridges before finishing at Ann Street Park. The distance is 7.1km but will the assistance of the river’s current, it’s the equivalent of a 3km swim. Dive in!
Balloons Over Waikato
March 17 to 21
Hamilton wouldn’t be Hamilton without the return of Balloons Over Waikato each and every year. Look out for the colourful balloons flying over the city and waking you up with the sound of them seemingly right outside your bedroom window—Hamilton life, right? If you’re waking up early, you might as well head down to Innes Common from 7am to see the balloons take off. Alternatively, take things to a whole new level (literally) and book a balloon ride over the city.
The Zuru Nightglow
The Balloons Over Waikato festival finishes with Hamilton’s biggest night out… The Zuru Nightglow. Held at The University of Waikato, the fun-filled night features live music, amusement rides and food trucks. As day turns to night, punters are treated to a hot air balloon glow show (with balloons choreographed to your fave music) before a spectacular fireworks display. BYO rug and picnic.
Lovegrove Lane Autumn Fest
Welcome autumn with open arms and check out Lovegrove Lane’s Autumn Fest this month. Known as the city’s coolest laneway, the Hamilton East precinct is home to The Flower Crate, Hearth Juice Bar & Grocer, Sun Salute Yoga and GG’s Cafe. The festival will welcome mouth-watering food trucks and stalls to the lane as well as live music and entertainment. Better yet, Good George will be pouring Hamilton’s finest beer and cider. See you there.
Got a date? Check out the best things to do in Hamilton after dark.
Image credit: Drax Project