Farmers to sponsor winter festival

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The Farmers department store and its subsidiaries, Whitcoulls, Pascoes and Stevens, are the principal sponsors for this year’s inaugural Rangiora Winter Festival.
The festival will now be known as the Farmers Rangiora Festival 2016 and has been rescheduled to begin on Friday, September 2, a day after the opening of the new $14 million Farmers Department Store building in Rangiora’s High Street, on September 1.
The festival organisers Karl Horwarth, co-owner of Fools of Desire Cafe, Reality Bites Cafe and Organic Grocers, in Rangiora, and Sarah Broughton, project manager for Project Group Ltd, of Rangiora, said one of the key reasons for establishing the festival was to celebrate the rebirth of Rangiora, ‘‘refreshed, regenerated and rejuvenated’’ after theCanterbury earthquakes.
They were keen to align the event with the opening of the new Farmers store because they said the re-emergence of a bigger, brighter department store was an important factor in the town’s rebirth.
Farmers Trading Company head of marketing, Dean Cook, said Farmers was excited to be returning to Rangiora and to be part of the festival.
‘‘The opening on September 1 will see all stores from the JPL Group, including Whitcoulls, Pascoes and Stevens open new stores in town.
There should be a real celebratory atmosphere over the weekend for everyone to enjoy,’’ he said.
An ice skating rink has also been confirmed for the festival.
The ice skating rink is being transported from the North Island specially for the festival, which was initially planned for July, but which will revert back to a winter time slot for future events.
This year’s festival will also include comedy and livemusic performances, ice sculpture, snow, specialist foodstalls and food trucks, buskers, a light and sound display, laser tag, bouncy castles, face paining and raffles.
The organisers said a team of volunteers had been established during the last few months to help with the organisation and administration of the festival.
The team was a ‘‘good mix of business, creative and technical expertise’’.
There has also been significant support from the North Canterbury community for the festival.
Many businesses have already signed up to provide sponsorship for the event, including Sicon, Quinovic Property Management, North Canterbury Business Services, Ray White Real Estate, Koller Hassall Accountants, Flourish Outsourcing, Saunders Robinson Brown Lawyers, Winnie Bagoes, Monteiths, Project Group, Fools of Desire Cafe and Reality Bites Cafe. Rangiora Promotions, Enterprise North Canterbury and the Waimakariri District Council are also supporting the event.
Naming rights are still available for individual events at the festival including the Ice Rink and the Comedy Fest night.
Waimakariri District Mayor David Ayers says the festival will provide an obvious commercial advantage for the businesses involved but it was also important in terms of strengthening community cohesion.
Bringing people together for events such as the winter festival makes ‘‘our community stronger’’, he says.
The festival is a registered charitable trust so the ‘‘Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Canterbury’’ mentoring programme is also likely to benefit from the event.