Christmas came early to Motueka when Santa buzzed into Decks Reserve via helicopter on Sunday night.
His arrival was one of the highlights of the Birdhurst Christmas in the Park, an evening of entertainment and carols organised by the Motueka Church of Christ.
Carissa Armstrong, the events manager for the church, said the show, which ran from 4pm to 9.30pm, attracted about 1200 people at its peak at the start of the main programme, about 8pm.
Soon after a shower of rain and a cold wind came in, thinning the crowd, but those who stayed were treated to a large fireworks show to close the event.
She said the church had hoped for more people but said the unsettled weather kept some at home.
It was the second year the church had produced the show. It took the place of a Christmas Eve service at the church, which had grown too large.
She said Christmas in the Park was well supported by the community. About a dozen sponsors contributed about $10,000 to help produce show.
Among the carols and entertainment were the Origin Dance Crew and a choir of Pacific Island Birdhurst horticultural workers.
"The Birdhurst choir was an awesome feature, adding a different flavour of what we have in Motueka," said Ms Armstrong.
The first 500 children at the event were given free tickets for two carnival rides, a pottle of chips and a glow stick.
"We know that the Christmas season is an expensive time of the year so we wanted families to come and not feel the pressure to buy rides or pottles of chips. We wanted to give back to the community, not take from it," said Ms Armstrong.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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