Mahurangi festival of lights set to beat the winter blues

An artist’s impression of the tree lighting expected at the Warkworth Wharf during the Mahurangi Winter Festival of Lights. The lights will remain even after the festival ends.

The Mahurangi Winter Festival of Lights promises to shine even brighter this year, with a new illuminated parade event and Auckland Council ATEED funding to light up the Warkworth Wharf area.

The parade will kick off on Friday, July 19 at 6.30pm and feature illuminated floats, trucks, cars, bikes, scooters, people and possibly even beds on wheels.

Organiser Murray Chapman says he wants people’s imagination to run riot, perhaps including lighting up grandma in her wheelchair.

The parade will assemble on Baxter Street and continue down Queen Street. It will end in the illuminated Wharf area where colour washes of light will play over the water and nearby trees. The

Jane Gifford and other boats will be ablaze with light. Buskers will play and crowds can enjoy eats from brightly-lit food trucks.

Participants are invited to use their imagination for the parade.

The fun will continue into Saturday, July 20, with ice skating on Baxter Street from 11am, real snow for kids to play in and more food trucks catering to all tastes.

Children can also enjoy a movie at the Warkworth Town Hall at 4pm. They will then be provided with glow sticks to walk down to Baxter Street to enjoy the spectacular laser light show, which takes place from 6pm.

Murray hopes businesses will really get behind the event, sponsoring different parts of the festival, lighting up their shops, entering floats in the parade and staying open late on Friday and Saturday nights.

“It’s going to bring a whole lot of people into town and shops who don’t open are going to miss out,” he says.

He says last year even Chocolate Brown in Mill Lane, which is some distance from the main events, reported it had its busiest day ever on the day of the laser light show.

“Even if you are, say, a women’s clothing shop, it’s true nobody is likely to be out buying clothes, but there is still the opportunity to wander around and hand out vouchers to people.”

Murray adds that it’s the “Mahurangi Festival”, not just a Warkworth event and he is eager for places such as Omaha, Snells Beach, Matakana, Leigh and elsewhere to actively participate.

Last year’s inaugural festival attracted many people from outside the area and Murray hopes to build on this trend, encouraging strong bookings for motels and restaurants.

“It’s only going to get bigger and bigger each year. People who went last year say their kids are still talking about it,” Murray says.    

“Winter can be a depressing time of year. The whole idea is to bring a smile to people’s faces.”

To enter a float, help with sponsorship or participate in other ways, email murray@onewarkworth.co.nz

Info: facebook.com/mahurangiwinterfestivaloflights


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