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Our Town Motueka to resume Festival of Lights

May 11th, 2017
[by David Armstrong]

Our Town Motueka are reprising the Festival of Lights event as a way of brightening up winter and helping retailers and food outlets to attract visitors and locals to support their businesses.

The Festival of Lights began as a huge community event in the 1990s but lapsed about five years ago when the organising committee ran out of steam.

In June 2010, for example, the festival took place over a full week including a wide range of events, musical performances and other activities designed to bring residents out of their houses and to attract shoppers from the Nelson region.(See our earlier story.)

This time the smaller organising team will start the festival on Friday 14th July, with lights on display for the following two weeks. But at present there has been no program of scheduled activities arranged beyond the opening night, though there is time yet to prepare some.

OTM's new coordinator, Claire Hutt, has sparked the decision to restart the highlight of winter event and has approached High Street retailers about staying open on the Friday night and displaying festival lights.

She has reported on Facebook that many businesses have booked lights and agreed to stay open for late night shopping until perhaps 7.30pm.

As has been common in the past, the ceremony will kick off at the museum forecourt, which will become like a town square. Buskers are also being invited to add music, entertainment and atmosphere along the street.

"We'll have walk-about Star Wars characters, courtesy of John Burt from Unichem Pharmacy, plus buskers," Claire said. "The plan will be for the lights at the Museum to be turned on with a countdown by MP Damien O'Connor at 6.00pm Friday.

"We will have a lot of visitors in town and will be great to have at least some shops open - it will also help out with cash flow in the quieter month of July. Our visitors can see the lights, do some shopping, and enjoy our local restaurants and takeaways.

"We have a container full of motif lights which can be displayed in shop/business windows. And we'll be advertising the event on the 'It's On' website, to spread the word over in Nelson."

She says any businesses who are keen to have lights in their windows and haven't yet been visited, to contact her so she can reserve lights, which are free to use.

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