Franklin Rd lights mark 20 years

Annual display joins city's Christmas trail

JESS LEE
Last updated 05:00 28/11/2012
Franklin Road Christmas Lights
GRAHAME COX/ Fairfax NZ

FESTIVE CHEER: The annual Christmas light display on Franklin Rd is celebrating its 20th year.

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Franklin Rd's annual light display promises to be bigger and brighter this year as it celebrates its 20th anniversary.

The display will be a key feature in a central city Christmas trail which will wind its way down Franklin Rd, cross over to the Telecom Foundation Christmas tree in Victoria Park and to a new advent calendar at Wynyard Quarter.

Franklin Rd resident Amy Calway, who is co-ordinating this year's event, said the annual display will not lose its community vibe.

The attraction draws thousands of onlookers each December from all around the city who come to see the elaborately lit and decorated homes.

''We want to be a part of it but we want to do it our way.

''In the past it's always just been about a bunch of neighbours getting together and putting on a wonderful display.''

Residents will be marking the start of the festive season on December 1 with the street's biggest opening night party yet outside the newly-renovated Rob Roy Hotel at the bottom of Franklin Rd.

The street party will coincide with the lighting of the Telecom Christmas tree and the opening of the advent calendar.

In the lead-up to Christmas Day, windows in the waterfront's 12-metre-high calendar will open one by one to reveal displays created by artists and schoolchildren.

Some Franklin Rd residents were surprised to find organisers had to apply to the council for a permit for the opening street party this year.

But an Auckland Council spokeswoman said the council fully supports this year's plan to boost the event and has no plans to make residents obtain a permit for their individual displays.

Franklin Rd resident Hamish Keith has lived on the street for 11 years and said this year would be a good chance to see how a bigger event will work.

''I guess most of us want to keep it as a street event and not an organised, commercial event,'' he said.

''It might work out, it might not. We'll have to wait and see."

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- Auckland Now

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