By SHELLEY TOPP
The Waimakariri Winter Festival began life as an invigorator to lift spirits after the Canterbury earthquakes.
The annual crowd-pleaser is in its fourth year and continues to exceed expectations, with a host of events planned for the main festival day in Rangiora on Sunday, July 21, and in the week leading up to it.
Blackwell’s department store’s spectacular Fire & Ice Night Market in Kaiapoi this Saturday, in conjunction with the Kaiapoi Art Expo, on this Saturday and Sunday, and the Waikuku Beach Invigorator event this Sunday, provide an exciting lead-up to the main event the following weekend.
The festival has become a favourite with North Canterbury people and those beyond, attracting crowds every year.
It initially began with a small plan to celebrate the opening of Conway Lane in Rangiora.
“From that initial idea it grew into a town and then regional celebration,” festival instigator Karl Howarth says.
“The unique thing about the Waimakariri Winter Festival is the huge support it received from North Canterbury locals from day one.
“It is an event for locals, put together and funded by locals with mostly commercial sponsorship and is completely volunteer run,” he says.
“It is not a product of the local council, or promotional agencies, but local people and businesses. So, the team of four trustees (including Karl, Sarah Broughton, Matt James and Nicholette Kilgour) and a wider group of dedicated volunteers, wanted to make it free and that is what we have done.”
Most of the activities on the day are also free.
“It is an incredible day-out for the family. You can do so much for very little cost, plus enjoy some fantastic music on the main stage and great food.”
Prizes to be won include a $5000 Pacific Island Cruise Holiday Package in Fiji, plus $1000 in spending money thanks to helloworld Travel Rangiora/Kaiapoi, P&O Cruises and the Waimakariri Winter Festival.
There is also a weekend for two in Hanmer Springs to be won, plus 30 other prizes as part of Rangiora’s Holistic Health and Wellbeing Thirty Days of Winter Wellness promotion.
There will be an exhibition from the Rangiora Photographic Society in a marquee in Blake St from Thursday, July 18, to Sunday, July 21.
The society is also giving young photographers the chance to win a Canon GX9 digital camera, and other prizes, by taking part in a photo contest.