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By SHELLEY TOPP

Rangiora celebrated winter in style last week with a festival delivering a host of exciting activities to the town.

The four-day event began last Thursday with the early-morning opening of the synthetic ice rink which was shown live on Newshub’s “AM Show”.

The cameras were back in Rangiora the next day for Friday night’s sold-out Winter Palace cocktail evening with reporter Julian Lee doing a live cross from the Rangiora event for the 7pm current affairs and entertainment show “The Project”.

The Rangiora segment featured the reporter standing on the red carpet outside the Winter Palace marquee in front of a shiny black Hummer stretched limousine.

The film clip played in the “What’s On section at the end of “The Project” that night.

“There was a competition for the best cross to location between Rangiora, Wellington, Auckland and Queenstown,” Rangiora Festival trustee Karl Horwarth said.

“We won. It was a huge achievement from the organising committee to get prime-time live national television coverage for the event which was only established last year.”

The festival was organised by the Rangiora Festival Trust, a group of Rangiora business people wanting to deliver some fun and excitement to the town during the winter months.

They also wanted to showcase the best of North Canterbury’s shopping, food and entertainment, with all proceeds going to the festivals chosen charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters North Canterbury.

Last Saturday’s Festival Extravaganza brought almost 10,000 people into the Rangiora central business district.

This was a big result for the festival team, their sponsors and the supporters who helped out during the day.

“Seeing our town humming with so many people was amazing,” Karl said.

“The event was backed by more than 80 sponsors and supporters plus a huge group
of generous volunteers.

Without the sponsors and volunteers the festival would not happen so a special thanks to them,” he said.

“We put in hundreds and hundreds of hours to organise this programme of events for our community and seeing everyone enjoying themselves on the day gives us a great deal of satisfaction.”

Saturday’s Extravaganza featured a farmers market on a closed off part of High St, from 9am to 1pm.

More than 45 stalls took part in the market and there were a wide range of other family-friendly activities throughout the day in the Blake St carpark area, including the ice rink, ice sculpting, an animal farm, bouncy castles, photo booths, the virtual reality hub, and bumpa boats, plus live music on stage behind the hospitality marquee, a beer garden and food available from 24 different providers.

The fun continued later that night when a sold-out drive-in movie screened in Rangiora’s New World supermarket carpark with a concert held by Wai-Youth members there afterwards.