‘5, 4 , 3, 2, 1’ is the sound of the countdown that appears and flashes on a LED screen. A large crowd gathers in front of the stage with anticipation and eager eyes. A mix of people from all different cultures stand together to be united by colour in this philosophy carried through the Indian celebration ‘Holi’. ‘Bang’ goes the colour canon shooting out colours hot pink, purple, orange and yellow into the air, blanketing people below, followed by strangers chasing strangers with colour powder in their hands and kids chucking dye on their Mums and Dads. This is how the Rangiora Festival of Colour will kickstart in Victoria Park on Sunday 20 September. Organiser Karl Horwarth has run this free event for the last two years and is excited for this year’s event expecting an attendance of 3000 people. “We want there to be a whole bunch of people in the centre of town having a fun time,” he said. The event has new sponsors on board this year including local business Go Wireless NZ providing free wifi and Rangiora McDonalds selling colours with some of the money going towards Ronald McDonald House. Pak‘n’Save Rangiora will also sell the colour dye, Lumino Dentists will make an appearance with a smile frame for Instagram photos and Mainpower with their art competition. People can taste the flavours of the world from Thai ice cream to French crepes, Asian stir fry and German bratwurst while enjoying performances from Bollywood dancers, African drummers, kapa haka group, Irish dancers and local band Funk and Disorderly. There will also be bouncy castles, face painting and photo booths. “Come along to support the community, support the performers, support local businesses and have a lot of fun,” Horwarth said. Participants may even get a glimpse of Mayor Dan Gordon getting hammered by colours. Karl was unfortunate with the weather last year, but he hopes this year it will be nice and warm.