You may have heard that the suburb of Ellerslie has been dubbed ‘Arterslie’ for its fun arts and crafts scene. But did you know that the Ellerslie Recreation Centre managed by YMCA has held a lot of events to contribute to the effervescent vibe? Ellerslie Recreation Centre holds big and small events for the local community every couple of months, and best of all they’re free!

Organiser Daniel Strid says: “We like putting on fun events - after all, we’re a community centre and so we want to provide a place for the community. The events are absolutely family-oriented, since that’s important to YMCA Auckland’s values, and Ellerslie is a real family-based suburb too.”

Several particularly exciting events were held recently. In May, Ellerslie Recreation Centre put on a huge carnival for their ‘Family Day Out.’ No tightrope walking elephants or roaring lions were there of course, but there were plenty of other fun carnival games. Kids (and those just young at heart), could throw darts at the cards on the wall, bob for apples, toss the baseball, challenge each other to a game of mini golf, or just sit back and enjoy music from the DJ.

Daniel and Centre Manager Chris Laing, organised the carnival because they wanted to do something particularly fun for the community – and who doesn’t love a carnival? “Family Day Out ran from 10am until 4pm, which was quite long! People could wander in throughout the day and participate in the carnival. Not only were there lots of fun games for the kids to do, but there were also tons of prizes for people to win too,” explains Daniel.

Although their focus wasn’t so much on advertising the carnival, a massive 700 people still turned up throughout the day. Both Daniel and Chris could hardly have been more thrilled with the turnout. “That’s been our biggest event of the year so far, and so many visitors told me how awesome they thought it was,” says Daniel.

Following on the heels of the carnival’s success, it was decided that the next event for July would be a bit smaller scale. Daniel and Chris wanted to do something a bit different, so they decided to hold a ‘Family Night Out’ this time, which involved screening a couple of different movies (one at 4pm and another at 6pm). A couple of popular Pixar films were chosen as they certainly appeal to kids – although parents were just as amused by the animated stories! Posting about the Family Night Out on Facebook and otherwise relying solely on word of mouth, about 35 people turned up to each screening. Quite a few of the kids who came along were between the ages of one and five years old, which just goes to show that age is not a limit to having fun!

So, what’s next on the events programme for Ellerslie? Although it’s previously been a bit of a secret, Chris and Daniel have been inspired by Halloween for their next event. The creative pair plan on holding a “Friday Fright Night” in October, which might involve a maze, a DJ, and a spooky area full of witches, ghouls, and other creepy creatures. Despite this haunting idea, it’ll be just as open to the whole family as all of their previous events – so make sure to pop down to Ellerslie in October.