In a little over two weeks, a special festival will officially launch our district into the Christmas season, and this year, the annual Ashburton Nights of Lights festival has been dialled up another notch for our community to celebrate the festive spirit even more.
Every Friday evening from 29 November until 20 December, Baring Square East will host a series of events as part of our Christmas festival, Nights of Lights. The festival will kick off with the lighting of our giant Christmas tree at Light Up the Night on 29 November, and it's set to be a fantastic night for every member of the family.
In addition to the food trucks, on-stage entertainment, carols, a visit from Santa and the countdown to the lighting of the tree (which is now even bigger than before), this year the Council has partnered with local businesses to really get into the 'season of giving'.
Every person that comes along to Light Up the Night beginning at 6.30pm will go into the draw to win amazing Christmas gifts, and there will be something for the whole family, including bikes, scooters, wireless headphones, barbeques, lawnmowers and even gaming consoles.
All you need to do to take part in this festive gift activity is to be there at Light Up the Night as the presents are drawn throughout the evening. The first draw will be at 7pm, so make sure to be on time to sort your free tickets.
Christmas is a time that we celebrate the virtues of generosity, sharing and coming together. The goodwill of our local businesses to help add something special to people's Santa sacks this year not only brings out this generosity, but also showcases our community spirit.
This spirit is also seen in the number of retailers who are coming on board with the Nights of Lights events and are extending their opening hours on 29 November and 13 December.
Also happening on the night will be the launch of our even bigger Festive Walk along the East Street walkway from Cameron Street to Moore Street. The Festive Walk will be available every night until early January. The trees are being carefully wrapped in thousands of fairy lights, which is sure to make for a magical walk through town.
In the Fridays that follow, we will have our two Busker Nights (6 & 20 December) and the special outdoor screening of the film 'Elf' at Movie Night on 13 December.
These events are all free to attend and are specially designed to share the Christmas cheer around town with friends and family.
Head to nightsoflights.nz to learn more about each event and the activities planned. I hope to see you and your family out celebrating throughout the Nights of Lights seasonal festival.