The Christmas season has officially arrived in the Ashburton District, and it all kicked off with a fantastic Light Up the Night event last Friday evening.
Around 1,500 people came along to share in the festive spirit in Baring Square East and it was a wonderful occasion for everyone involved.
Light Up the Night was specially designed to provide local families with a fun and festive experience to welcome in the holiday season. It was a chance to bring the whole community together, invigorate our town centre and celebrate this special time of year amongst friends and family with the lighting of the town's giant Christmas tree.
This was the third annual Light Up the Night, presented by EA Networks and it's grown to be bigger and brighter each year.
Food trucks lined the Square; a Kids Zone sponsored by Hokonui FM provided face painting, balloons and bouncy castles; The Sound's Robert Taylor kept the night rolling on-stage; there were Christmas carols and Santa came along to greet the kids. To top it off, this year there were free Santa gift giveaways thanks to a partnership between the Council and several local businesses.
Amazing prizes including kids bikes, wireless headphones, barbecues, an e-bike and three gaming consoles were given away every half-hour to event-goers, and everyone who came along on the night was in for a chance to win.
We're delighted to have been able to really get into the spirit of giving this year and give residents a chance to take something special home for Christmas, and we hope the 15 lucky winners enjoy their gifts.
I'd especially like to thank the businesses who supported this initiative; Chicago Joes, D & E Outdoors, Mitre 10 Mega, Noel Leeming, Smith City, Smith & Church, The Warehouse and Wheel Haus. Thanks also to the retailers who extended their opening hours on the evening to give people a chance to get their Christmas shopping done before the event.
Events such as these would not be possible and would certainly not be the success that they are without countless people, organisations and groups getting involved to bring it all together. Thank you for your commitment and support at this year's Light Up the Night.
Don't forget, there are still more exciting festive activities this month in the lead up to Christmas as part of the Nights of Lights festival.
Check out the impressive Festive Walk, presented by Four Seasons Treecare along East Street which is available every night until 3 January. The first Buskers Night, presented by the Ashburton Courier is on this Friday night in Baring Square East, followed by Movie Night, presented by More FM on 16 December and a final Buskers Night on 20 December.