All the organisers of a Cromwell event wanted for Christmas this year was fine weather, and that wish was granted on Sunday, albeit a week later than first planned.
Howling winds and driving rain forced the postponement of A Very Central Christmasthe previous week, but on Sunday the sun shone, the winds were light and families relaxed on the grass at Alpha St Reserve, above the Clutha River.
Cromwell and Districts Promotion Group community relationships manager Kelly Cruickshank-Giles said they were “blessed” with the weather, and the event was popular with all who attended.
The Cromwell Volunteer Fire Brigade was a hit with children, who took turns operating fire hoses and posing behind the wheel of an engine; the Cromwell Lions Club gave rides around the reserve aboard Thomas the Train; and food and drinks were provided by the Lions, Cromwell Scouts and vendors.
The Queenstown Highland Dancers were accompanied by the Queenstown and Southern Lakes Pipe Band, and a visit from Father Christmas was a favourite for children posing for photos.
The Arrowtown Buckingham Belles, a group of bar-style dancing girls who renamed themselves the Arrowtown Christmas Belles for the day, provided entertainment for an older audience, along with a range of other musical acts.
Mrs Cruickshank-Giles said only one performing group had been unable to attend because of the postponement.
The traffic light system meant all attendees over the age of 12 years and 3 months were required to show a valid vaccine pass to enter but that had created no problems.
The event was run for the first time last year as there had not been any Christmas-themed events in Central Otago for many years, she said.
The crowd came and went in waves during the day, with some people remaining for the duration while parents of young children tended to leave earlier, Mrs Cruickshank-Giles said.
“We started an hour earlier to make it more family-friendly and will look at doing so again next year.”