Blue skies as Santa rolls in

'Wonderful night of happiness'

CHARLEY MANN
Last updated 06:41 25/11/2012

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It might be one month until Christmas but Cantabrians were out in force last night to celebrate the start of the new festive season.

The annual Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park concert attracted at least 10,000 people, gathered in Hagley Park to watch singers Dane Rumble, Drew Neemia, Ria Hall and crowd-favourites Frankie Stevens and Jackie Clarke.

A 200-strong cast of singers, dancers and performers entertained the crowd, including the Christchurch Pops Choir with conductor Luke Di Somma, the Takumi Taiko Drumming Ensemble and the Christchurch School of Contemporary Belly Dance.

Coca Cola marketing services manager Annette Chillingworth said the weather was on its best behaviour with "beautiful blue skies and sunshine.

"It's always a delight to bring this wonderful night of happiness to the people of Christchurch," she said.

Event producer John Searle said the wide range of acts led some of his team to believe this year's line-up was the best the event had ever had.

There had also been a strong focus on including plenty of local talent in the evening's offerings.

"We worked hard to get as many Christchurch or South Island-based people in the show as possible," he said

The concert again supported Surf Life Saving New Zealand and rising star Jamie McDell made a special appearance in support.

The 20-year-old's has two No 1 singles, You'll Never Take That Away and Rewind.

The night was hosted by Gary McCormick and Simon Barnett, from More FM.

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- Sunday Star Times

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