NEW family-friendly, fitness festival Contender Fest welcomed nearly 1000 arrivals to its opening weekend.

The Christchurch festival featured a purpose-built Obstacle Course for the ‘Contender Games’, food and drink stands, fitness classes, bodybuilding exhibitions, a craft village and live music.

Organiser Des Burke said: “It’s been really good, putting on the first Contender Fest has been amazing. Getting the structure, the organisation and traders has been amazing.

"It’s been really difficult getting the new concept out but there were lots of people.

"I think we've got maybe just under 1000 people here right now and they really got it and appreciate it so we're really excited about the years to come."

Personal trainer Laura Travis ran the Big5 event, along with other local PT’s from the area, she said: “We’ve had men and women coming up and they are doing five of the big lifts, so we’ve got deadlifts, squats, bent over row, bench press and shoulder press.

"They do it for a minute, see how many reps they can do and then they get a couple of minutes rest between each, so it’s quite savage, it’s been quite tough but we've had a really supportive atmosphere.

“We’ve got three or four local PT’s here and helpers as well which has been great, so it’s just been a nice community feel as well.

“We’ve had a variety of people try it out, we’ve got bodybuilders that are used to training as well as complete beginners’ giving it a try as well.”

Claire Nightingale ran Zumba classes over the weekend, she said: “Zumba was absolutely fantastic, we couldn’t fit any more in the tent.

“The vibe was great, everyone was smiling the whole time and they didn’t want it to end.

“I did a mix of genres of dance and everyone had a great time and everyone was coming up to me afterwards asking where I teach my classes so its worked very well for me.”

BH Live sponsored the £500 cash prize for the Big5 challenge, a spokesperson from the company said: “It’s been really good to be one of the main sponsors for the festival, it’s a really good concept.

“Obviously it’s really good for us because its fitness-related. I think because it’s the first year and it’s their first time doing it, we’ve been promoting it though our centres but I’m not sure how it’s been promoted across the area which is such a shame because it’s a great event.

“I’d be happy to do it again but with more people, in think that’s the only thing really.

“The actual concept and the organisers and being involved in it has been really great. It’s just a shame, I would have loved to have seen more people but now it’s been on, I think next year it will just get bigger.”