Bright farewell to dark Cromwell winter months at inaugural festival
Imaginations went wild as people got into the spirit of an inaugural event farewelling the imminent end of Cromwell's dark winter months.
Cromwell's Mall was alive with colour and activity with about 1000 people joining in the Light Up Winter Festival on Friday which included a Light Up Your Hat competition and lantern release.
Cromwell Promotions Group community relationships manager Brigitte Tail said the calibre of hat designs, ranging in styles from jellyfish, to a quail, a snowman to a block of flats, made judging difficult.
"I was super impressed with the turnout and the effort that the mall businesses and community went to. The hats were of such a high calibre the judges really struggled judging. It's quite exciting because hopefully it will grow year on year."
The group had seen a gap in the town's winter calendar so came up with the idea of a Light Up Winter festival that would get the community involved.
"We have a very busy events calendar in spring and summer but there was a gap in winter. The community has grown so much in the last few years and we were really looking for a community event that got everyone involved. With the success and support of the event we really hope we can put this event on next year, and make it a feature on the calender every year."
International visitors to the event had it compared with winter markets in Austria and Germany with the mulled wine, live music and stalls, she said.
The lantern release was also a huge success with 400 sold, she said.
"The lanterns were a magical end to a cool night out. They are biodegradable and disintegrate but the group did a clean up the next day. Most seemed to land at the Wooing Tree which we had already spoken to them about."
A photo booth fundraiser was also held, to support a Cromwell family who were currently in Christchurch with their three-year-old daughter who was undergoing treatment for an inoperable brain tumour.
"They have had to leave their jobs and move to Christchurch's Ronald McDonald House for months and get their daughter treatment."