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Auckland gets into festive spirit

MARIKA HILL
Last updated 13:23 03/12/2012

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Christmas fever has hit Auckland.

A seven-storey Christmas tree, a larger-than-life advent calendar and a big, jolly man were all part of the festivities over the weekend.

The lighting of the Telecom Christmas tree in Victoria Park started the celebrations with Kiwi boy-band Titanium performing, much to the delight of hordes of teenage girls in the crowd.

The tree's 375,000 lights will shine from dusk until dawn every night until Boxing Day.

Telecom retail chief executive Chris Quin said more than 100,000 people visited the tree last year.

"You can't help but feel the magic of Christmas when you see light rush up the 7-storey high Telecom Tree to the star at the top," he said.

The lighting of the Christmas tree coincided with Franklin Rd home owners switching on their lights for a dazzling display for its 20th anniversary.

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom, dressed in a Santa hat, had a hand in turning on the lights.

Franklin Rd residents marked the anniversary with a street party outside the newly-renovated Rob Roy Hotel.

The residents' lights attract thousands of onlookers each December.

Franklin Rd resident Ross Thorby, who is one of the founders of the annual event, decorated his house with 60,000 lights.

What began as a few neighbours decorating their houses has transformed into a family-friendly festive celebration, he said.

"It's one of the few free things you can do with kids over Christmas. It's worth the effort for us.

"Once the first night is over with, you sit back and relax and see the kids running up and down the street. It's a really neat feeling."

He estimated 130,000 people would view the Franklin Rd spectacle leading up to Christmas.

A 12 metre high advent calendar has also been installed at Silo Park at Wynyard Quarter.

A range of businesses have their own windows, created by artists, school kids or customers, that will be revealed one-by-one in the lead up to Christmas Day.

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- Fairfax Media

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