Warkworth thrills to Festival of Lights

Around 4000 people thumbed their noses at the drizzly weather and poured into Baxter Street to enjoy the highlight of Warkworth’s inaugural Festival of Lights on Saturday night July 14.

Revellers enjoyed a spectacular laser light show, skating, frolicking in the snow and lots of good eats from a variety of food trucks and sausage sizzle.

Lorna Thomson, out for a night with her family, said it was great to see something good happening in Warkworth.

“Most of the good stuff normally happens in central Auckland,” she said.

Scott Jordan, of Orewa, who was able to introduce his daughter Alyssa, 8, to the joys of skating, said “it sure beats a night at home watching TV”.

Event organiser Murray Chapman says more than 600 children tried the skating, raising $1100 for charity through a gold coin donation.

Hundreds more enjoyed fooling around in the eight-and-a-half tonnes of snow throughout the day.
Other highlights included the bright illumination of dozens of shops and Matakana’s village hall and famed public toilets.      

Murray said the big moment for him was when he overheard a young boy say to his mother, “Mum, this is the best night of my life.”

The success means Murray is eager to organise another festival next year and hopes even more retailers and more areas – such as Point Wells, Snells Beach and Leigh – will light up and contribute to the festive atmosphere.         

Murray says the festival could possibly take place over a week, encouraging people to come into town and stay for several days.

“When the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway is finished, we don’t want people to keep on driving north. We want them to come in here,” he says.