Brighter future for Franklin Rd lights

16:00, Nov 27 2012
Franklin Rd
BIGGER AND BRIGHTER: The Franklin Rd lights are set to become part of Auckland’s Christmas trail through Victoria Park but Franklin Rd resident Amy Calway says the event will not lose its community spirit.

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

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 move up to Wynyard Quarter.

With all the entertainment, bright lights and noise it could be easy for the community-run event to get lost along the way.

But Franklin Rd resident Amy Calway, who is co-ordinating this year's event, says 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 on the famous Freeman's Bay street.

"We're not selling off the naming rights," Ms Calway says.


"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 to 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 Wynyard Quarter's living, breathing Advent calendar.

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

Some Franklin Rd residents were surprised to find they had to apply to the council for a permit for their own street festivities this year.

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

"Obtaining a permit for the event's planned opening night is a standard process that will be worked through with council staff to ensure the public space can be used," she says.

"There is no plan to charge for the permit."

Franklin Rd resident Hamish Keith has lived on the street for 11 years and says this year will 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 says.

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

Auckland City Harbour News