Lights out for park's 'biggest and best'
Night-time crowds will thin and trees cease to twinkle at Pukekura Park as technicians begin to dismantle the Festival of Lights installations this week.
Senior event co-ordinator Anna Carrington said up to 150,000 people walked through the festival over the five weeks it was on display, a big increase from last year.
She put the success down to the fine weather and a good combination of performances in the entertainment programme that appealed to all ages.
"We've achieved the range of genres we aimed for. There was something for everyone."
She said the On Stage performances were the best the festival had ever had and the Summer Scene events attracted very high attendance.
The mix of new acts, such as an interactive theatre show, and old favourites like the Teddy Bears' Picnic and Big Dig proved a success.
As well as a strong local presence, an overwhelming number of national and international visitors came to the festival.
"Walking around when you're on patrol, all you can hear is different languages - it's amazing," Ms Carrington said.
Acting manager, events, Tricia Logan said the festival received $5000 in donations from its donation box and various other sources. It also did a joint fundraising effort with the hospice, with which it split the proceeds.
Ms Logan said MJF Lighting did a wonderful job of the lighting and the quality of the displays would only improve.
"The lighting will be fantastic next year. This is the first year MJF Lighting has done the lighting - next year they'll really know the place."
Ms Carrington said the most popular installations were the Sky of Diamonds, the ITL Light Couch and the Radiant Font fountain projection, and kids loved the Flower Power Black Light Area.
Vandalism had decreased this year due to "community ownership" of the festival and dedicated police patrols on most nights, Ms Carrington said.
However, one vandal unintentionally contributed to the creative effort when he dislodged a glowing ball from where it was installed in the bush and it ended up floating in the lake.
"I thought, ‘that actually looks quite beautiful with the reflection floating on the water'," Ms Logan said.
Taranaki Daily News