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Christmas comes early

Blackwell & Sons in Greytown’s Main Street lit up in last year’s Festival of Christmas. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Last night Christmas lights went on in Greytown as the town kicked off a month-long festival of activities, food, and more.

Event manager for the town’s big mid-winter bash, Rachael Fletcher, said the festival starting was an opportunity to bring some hallmarks of a northern hemisphere winter escape to Wairarapa, with a kiwi twist.

“We are really excited to bring the Greytown festival of Christmas to the region for the month.

“It’s a good time for people to bring friends and family from out of town to the region, with plenty going on the whole month.

“It’s an opportunity to celebrate in winter,” she said.

One of the stand-out events was the Big Switch, with four landmark buildings being lit up as lights went on in Greytown at 7pm.

“It’s the official start of the festival and an opportunity to see Greytown’s main street transform for the first time.

“The lighting is a significant step up from last year and will be spectacular. It’s unlike any lighting we have seen in the region so far,” she said.

Including animation and moving images, the four key buildings to be illuminated are The Design Library, The White Swan, Emporos, and Blackwell & Sons.

Each building frontage has been mapped and will be populated with animated content to make a show beamed on to them by projectors.

Fletcher said the best place to see the lights would be near one of the buildings.

The buildings will be lit up every evening of the month-long festival from 5pm Saturday. Special effects include falling snowflakes in the square in front of the town hall, and pop-up wireless up-lights in various places.

There will be 160 metres of festoon lighting around the night markets and the central square in the evenings.

The Festival of Christmas officially opened with The Big Switch when the lights on Main St turned on simultaneously.

The event marks the beginning of a programme of events including interactive family activities, night markets, workshops, Christmas parties and more.

Fletcher said demand had been strong, with a significant number of free family friendly events coinciding with the school holidays.

“Across the month, we have more than 70 events, including workshops,” she said.

Other events this weekend include Matariki Art in the Park, A Woolly Good Christmas at Cobblestones, Oyster Saloon with Martin Bosley, Discover Matariki, an Outdoor Night Market, The Christmas Jumper Party on Saturday night, and a Heritage Walk early on Sunday morning.

People attending the Big Switch are advised to wrap up warmly. Parking will be available off the main street.

The Festival of Christmas was held for the first time last year to help the region’s retail and hospitality sector after lockdown. The event was the brainchild of business group Country Village Heaven.

  • More information, including the full programme and ticketing, is at www.greytownvillage.com

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