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Red-carpet welcome . . . The 2017 Rangiora Festival Gala night promotion held at the Fools of Desire Cafe in Rangiora’s Conway Lane on Wednesday night last week. PHOTO: SHELLEY TOPP

The July 2017 Farmers Rangiora festival team . . . From left, back row, Sarah Broughton, Padi Nistala-James, Tessa Keeling, Leanne Newsome and Alun Hassall. Front row from left: Matt James, Nicholette Kilgour, Karl Horwarth and Phil Anderson. Chris Gudsell and Tom McBrearty are also members of the organising committee but could not attend the gala evening held at the Fools of Desire Cafe in Rangiora on Wednesday evening last week to promote the event. PHOTO: SHELLEY TOPP

By SHELLEY TOPP

Winter Festival is back by popular demand and this year it will run for four days at the end of July.

Last year’s key sponsor Farmers, and its associated brands, Pascoes, Whitcoulls and Stevens have been retained for this year’s event with Singapore Airlines also becoming involved.

The airline has put up a festival prize of two return tickets to an as yet undecided destination with many routes worldwide to choose from.

The festival team will run a competition during the next month or so to help decide the destination of the tickets and a second competition will be held during the festival to win the actual tickets.

Singapore Airlines fly to 52 destinations around the world and its subsidiary SilkAir flies to 53 destinations throughout Asia.

The festival will be known as the Farmers Rangiora Winter Festival with Mitre 10 Mega Rangiora also agreeing to be a key sponsor again this year.

Details of the festival were announced at the Last Wednesday Club’s monthly networking function which was held at the Fools of Desire Cafe (F.O.D.) in Rangiora last week. It was jointly hosted by the Rangiora Festival team and F.O.D. and guests were welcomed on a red carpet leading into the cafe. The Last Wednesday Club is run by Rangiora Promotions to create networking opportunities for their members.

A festival organiser Karl Horwarth said the same philosophy from last year’s festival would be applied to this year’s event.

“Our focus, as a registered charity, is on providing as many fun and free activities as possible for North Canterbury residents in a central Rangiora location, while still raising money for our nominated charity,” he said “Last year we raised over $6500 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Canterbury and that is the designated charity again for this year’s festival.

“Our hope is to establish the Rangiora Winter Festival as a long-term event, self-sustaining, and we aspire to a world-class event with small-town flavour and character.”

The festival will run from Thursday July 27 to Sunday July 30.

Nothing has been planned for Sunday yet but it is on the team’s wish list and is dependent on sponsors coming forward to support a fourth day for the festival. The popular ice rink will be back for four days and a cocktails event will be held in Rangiora on Friday evening.

Saturday will again be the main festival day with ice sculptures, snow, fun activities, live music, a food market and stalls in the Blake St car park area, plus a covered farmers market in a closed-off section of High St.

The festival team also hope to include a fireworks display, a fashion show and lighting displays at the event but these are unconfirmed and reliant on sponsorship. “We were totally dependent last year on amazing volunteers doing a huge amount of hard work to make the festival a success.

“This year will be no different and we would love to hear from anyone interested in helping out with the festival in any capacity either as part of the organising group or on the day itself,” Karl said.