Festive centrepieces created for Xmas dinner

Christmas creations . . . Dunedin Floral Art Group members gather with some of the 60 table wreaths they have created for the Dunedin Community Christmas Dinner. Pictured are (back row, from left) Lyn Whyte, Sandra Divett, Pat Douglas, Deborah Bell, Karen Lester, Judy Fulton, (front from left) Lorraine Faris, Jan McKinley, Mary-Anne Nikou and Faye-Noel Brown. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

Snowy white tablecloths make the perfect setting for 60 festive table centrepieces created for the Dunedin Community Christmas Dinner by members of the Dunedin Floral Art Society.

Spokeswoman Faye-Noel Brown said 18 society members had made 29 centrepieces in the past six weeks, on top of the 31 made last year, to ensure every table was decorated.

Making the centrepieces was a lengthy process, involving harvesting, drying and shaping golden willow into circles, before decorating them with ribbon and Christmas baubles.

“We have made big ones as well for some of the tables in the foyer, as well as other decorations,” Ms Brown said.

“Our members really enjoy making decorations for the Christmas dinner.

“It is such a lovely event.”

The society members are among dozens of volunteers working hard to prepare the town hall for the big day, including laying tables and decorating Christmas trees and the hall.

About 60 cooks and food-handlers will work this weekend to prepare the food for 500 guests and about 100 volunteers who will gather on Christmas Day for the family-style dinner.

Hosted by Dunedin’s Acts of Kindness Charitable Trust, the event aims to make Christmas special for people who may be alone or in need.

The event will run from 11.30am to 2.30pm and will include entertainment led by Peter Kesha.

Trustee Grant Hardy said the dinner’s volunteer roster had been full for some time and he was pleased guest numbers had reached 87% of capacity by this week – “a huge response”.

“We are well ahead on numbers compared to other years,” Mr Hardy said.

“We can’t thank people enough for all the work they put in to making this such a joyful occasion.”

Mr Hardy was looking forward to seeing Dunedin Town Hall full of people on Christmas Day.

“We always have a great day. There is a really family atmosphere for the Christmas dinner.”

To register for the dinner, phone 471-6150, or email connectsouth.org.nz/dinner.

The Otago Heritage Bus Society will operate a free bus service for those attending. For details, see story on Page 25.