Ashburton CBD primed for Christmas cheer

Published: 8 November 2023

The Ashburton Silver Band and the Ashburton MSA men’s choir will be adding their music and voices to Light up the Night on Saturday 25 November, when Ashburton’s giant Christmas tree comes to life.

East Street is planned to be closed between Havelock and Tancred Streets for a night of Christmas cheer, including Christmas carols and yummy treats from food vendors.

The Christmas tree, which will be assembled in the CBD in the next few weeks, will be lit up at 9.15pm.

Ashburton Mayor Neil Brown said lighting up the Christmas tree signalled the start of the festive season and the event would be great fun for all the family.

“People might like to bring along their deck chairs and a blanket, and sit in front of the stage that will be beside the tree. It’s great to see the silver band and the MSA choir joining the occasion this year, and of course there’ll be Santa and his elves there too.”

The Samoan Christian Congregational Church choir from Ashburton will also be singing Christmas songs and carols, and the local Life Dance Academy will be performing. The Mid Canterbury Children’s Trust will run activities on East Street, in a building kindly provided by Redmonds, and the Balloon Man will also be working his magic.

The event starts at 6pm and people will be able to buy from nearby food trucks catering to a wide range of tastes, from hangi food to noodles, mussels and tacos. There will also be coffee carts and donuts.

Eco Educate will be onsite with a waste station to encourage people to recycle; they are also urging people to bring their own clean containers to hold food.

Mayor Brown said Council had talked to retailers in the CBD following the 2022 Christmas festival and moved the tree lighting from a Friday to a Saturday, so it would cause less disruption to trading.

“The roads are planned to be closed to make it safer for everyone to enjoy the night, and there’s plenty of parking off West Street and on side streets.”

The Light up the Night Christmas festival also includes a family movie night on Saturday 9 December, at the Ashburton Domain picnic ground, off Elizabeth Street. The movie has not been announced yet, but it will begin screening at 7pm.

The Regent Cinema is supporting the Ashburton Youth Council by providing two popcorn machines on the night, churning out free popcorn, and food trucks will selling other goodies.

The night is free but movie-goers will be asked to bring a canned food item that will be donated to the Salvation Army’s community foodbank.

Light up the Night Christmas festival is sponsored by Hokonui and the Ashburton Courier. More information is at

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