Christmas in Dunedin will be “bigger than Ben Hur” this year, with three big Christmas-themed events planned for the first weekend of December.
Dunedin’s Acts of Kindness Charitable Trust will host the inaugural “Christmas in the Stadium” community fun day and concert on Saturday, December 2.
Along with the annual lighting of the Octagon Christmas tree on the evening of Friday, December 1 and the Santa Parade on Sunday, December 3, it will make for a massive family Christmas weekend.
Acts of Kindness trustees Grant and Anne Hardy are excited to be bringing a Christmas concert and fun event to Dunedin.
“We are keen to build Dunedin’s Christmas spirit by providing a community event to complement the other two Christmas events in the city that weekend,” Mr Hardy said.
Christmas in the Stadium will be aimed at the whole community, especially children and families.
People will be able to picnic on the pitch, which will be divided into two zones – an area for children’s activities and games and an entertainment area, where musicians and choirs will perform.
Groups that might perform in the Christmas in the Stadium concert included the Oxo Cubans, Valley Bluegrass, Arc, City Choir Dunedin and the Star Singers.
“We want people to bring a rug and a picnic if they like, or take advantage of food and beverage stalls,” Mrs Hardy said.
Entry was by gold coin donation.
Christmas in the Stadium will also include activities organised by Dunedin’s Lending Matters group and incorporating several social agencies.
The activities will focus on achieving a low-cost Christmas, and will include opportunities to make and swap gifts. Budgetary advice will also be available.
Dunedin City Council community events co-ordinator Marilyn Anderson welcomed the new event, saying “the more the merrier”.
“The more energy around Christmas there is for families and children, the better,” she said.
Santa Parade organiser Mark Laughton said he supported the Christmas in the Stadium concept.
“It’s going to be good to have even more focus on Christmas.”
He had been involved in the parade since it began 20 years ago, and the event “announced the Christmas season” each year.
“Having the Christmas in the Stadium will make it a weekend of Christmas for families.”
Dunedin Venues Management Ltd marketing and communications manager Kim Barnes said “it will be absolutely terrific for the city to have a community Christmas event under the stadium roof.
“This is what our community events funding is all about.”
Applications for the next round of community events funding close tomorrow. The funding round covers events to be held from January to June 2018.