PMB bustling with its own events over world cup period

2010-04-14 00:00

THE countdown to South Africa’s football showpiece is well and truly under way, and Pietermaritzburg residents can be assured of their share of the excitement in the coming months.

While Pietermaritzburg is not hosting any Fifa 2010 World Cup matches, the city can expect to enjoy some liveliness of its own thanks largely to what is tipped to be one of the biggest Comrades Marathons in the event’s history, with over 16 500 runners expected to start in Pietermaritzburg on May 30.

This major event will coincide with the Royal Show, which runs from May 28 to June 6, as the marathon has been moved forward (as it was last year) due to Durban co-hosting the Confederations Cup.

Pietermaritzburg Tourism director Me­lanie Veness expects the city to be extremely vibrant over this period.

“May and June is Pietermaritzburg’s busiest time. We have a lot of events then, which has actually put a strain on our accommodation this year.”

Veness said that accommodation is of such concern that a call will be made to members of the public from Pietermaritzburg and the Midlands, who are able to provide runners and visitors to the Comrades Marathon with a place to stay.

The Comrades is not the only event that will take place during the Royal Show’s nine-day schedule.

Pietermaritzburg’s long-lasting Nashua Art in the Park, which started in 1962, runs from June 2 and also ends on June 6. Art in the Park has enjoyed continued success over the years, and Veness accredits this success to the event’s ability to create an accessible ambience that allows visitors to feel comfortable.

“One of the most special things about the event it is that people get to speak to the ar­tists themselves,” said Veness.

Pietermaritzburg Tourism has also launched a new event this year, The Witness Craft in the Park 2010, which will be held on May 28 and 29. The aim of the event is to provide craf­ters with a distinguished platform upon which to display and sell their work.

With all of these events hitting the city at once in the final weeks leading up to the start of the World Cup, Pietermaritzburg will surely be alive with different cultures come the end of May.

“I would like to see a wonderful blend of locals and internationals enjoying our hospitality and our beautiful landscape ,” said Veness.

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