It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas…

It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas, as the Council unveils the holiday season with three free community events guaranteed to spark joy in even the biggest curmudgeon!

Share in the wonder as the town’s Christmas tree comes to life at Light Up the Night, hit the right notes during Christmas Busker Days, and settle in for a Christmas favorite during the outdoor Family Movie Night.

Mayor Neil Brown says large crowds will be expected this year as the community takes advantage of the chance to celebrate without covid restrictions.

“We can see from recent events, like the A&P Show, that people are more than ready to come out and be part of an occasion, and we expect our Christmas festival to draw exceptional crowds. “

Kicking off the festival is the official lighting of the city’s giant Christmas tree at Light Up the Night. People are invited to join Santa Claus, the elves and the Hokonui team at East Street on December 2 from 6 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to bring a folding chair and settle in for an evening of music, festive lighting, and entertainment in the CBD.

There will be plenty for everyone, with three kids’ activity zones and a range of tempting deals available from nearby food trucks. The Christmas tree will be lit around 9:30 p.m.

Hokonui will hold a charity auction before the party, selling the opportunity to press the button on the Christmas tree lights. Money raised will go to the Phat Bastards Bike Club, whose members are running a 48-hour charity ride in the New Year to raise money for Farming Families, Hospice Mid Canterbury and Methven Search and Rescue.

A touch of Hollywood arrives at the Ashburton Estate Picnic Ground on Saturday, December 17 for Christmas Family Movie Night. Starting at 6 p.m., the whole family will enjoy this special outdoor screening of a holiday classic. Moviegoers should bring chairs or blankets to sit on and come dressed for the occasion in their finest Christmas-inspired attire!

Although admission is completely free, the Hokonui team will be collecting canned food donations for the Salvation Army Food Bank, which will help local families weather the holiday season. Members of the Ashburton Youth Council will also get into the spirit of things by handing out free popcorn. The film itself is still under wraps at this time, but with Council staff currently finalizing details with the distributor, the community can expect an announcement soon.

The mayor is also encouraging people to support their local retailers as Christmas approaches. Christmas Busker Days will see a selection of local talent spreading Christmas cheer through music for CBD shoppers on Friday December 23 and Saturday December 24, between 10am and 2pm.

“It’s a good opportunity to come and enjoy the atmosphere and buy local. It’s been a few uncertain years due to covid, but now things are back to normal, and we have a downtown we can be proud of.

The Nights Of Lights Christmas Festival is kindly supported by Hokonui. More information about the events can be found at

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