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Christchurch City Council Media Release 11 November 1997

Fingers crossed for a long hot summer.

A long hot summer is what organisers of the Christchurch City Council’s SummerTimes festival have their fingers crossed for. The two and a half month long festival of free outdoor entertainment kicks of with the biggest New Years Eve Party in Christchurch and culminates in the biggest event in the South Island on 14 March next year.

Just a few days after the excitement of the New Years Eve Party in Cathedral Square KidsPlay begins its season at various city parks, combining Mr Moon’s Amazing Games and a cushion theatre production of “Stinky the Goblin and The Queen”. The event took place for the first time last summer and attracted hundreds of children to each session.

A long-time favourite event of the SummerTimes festival is the Tip Top Ice Cream Teddy Bear’s Picnic. Kids, parents, grandparents and their bears will all head to North Hagley Park on Sunday 11 January for the annual ‘big day out’ for teddy bears. Bear-themed music, theatre, amusement rides, face painting and storytelling make the afternoon a highlight of summer. At the end of the day every teddy in the park is hurled skywards for the Great Bear Throw Up - an hilarious and spectacular sight.

The Exciting Adventures of Sinbad the Sailor is the play for this year’s Summer Theatre Season, running from 16 January to 7 February. Held in the gardens of Mona Vale, this fun family pantomime is full of comedy, music and dance and has a classic happy ending. On Sunday 8 February Strawberry Fields will bring the music, fashion and atmosphere of the sixties to North Hagley Park. The event has become a firm favourite with Generation X while remaining as popular as ever with their parents.

An evening of dancing and romancing under the stars is on the cards for the SummerTimes Valentines Day Dance on Saturday 14 February. The Square’s amphitheatre will be filled with romantic music, soft lighting and fairy lit trees providing the perfect atmosphere for dancing the night away with that special someone.

The festival culminates with a hat trick of big events, the first of which is the BellSouth Candlelight Opera on Saturday 21 February. Designed to appeal to opera buffs and newcomers alike, the Candlelight Opera features a programme of well know opera pieces sung by national and international opera stars accompanied by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and the Canterbury Opera Chorus. As the sun sets the audience light their candles and create a stunning sea of flickering light.

SummerRock - at the opposite end of the musical spectrum from the Candlelight Opera - takes place a fortnight later on Saturday 7 March. It’s a highlight of the year for rock fans, who over the past five years have enjoyed concerts by Jenny Morris, Jimmy Barnes, Crowded House, Diesel and Hunters & Collectors. This year SummerRock will proudly celebrate home grown music with five hours of indigenous rock from The Mutton Birds, Headless Chickens, The Bats, Stereo Bus and The Puffins.

SummerTimes ends on Saturday 14 March with Southpower Classical Sparks, the biggest event in the South Island. The Christchurch Symphony Orchestra will present a programme of popular classical music, culminating in a spectacular fireworks display.

The festival will also feature lunchtime concerts in Cathedral Square on Fridays, a series of brass and pipe band performances on Sundays and Sweet Suburbia - a series of weekend community concerts.

For further information contact the SummerTimes Publicity Co-ordinator,

Katie Macbeth, on (03) 941 8495, fax (03) 941 8262

or email (


SummerTimes Festival - 1998

Dates of Major Events

New Year’s Eve Party

10.00pm to 12.30am, Wednesday 31 December, Cathedral Square


10.30am, Monday 5 to Saturday 10 January, various venues

Tip Top Ice Cream Teddy Bears Picnic

12.00pm, Sunday 11 January, North Hagley Park

Summer Theatre Season

Friday 16 January to Saturday 7 February, Mona Vale Gardens, evenings and weekend matinees (daily except Mondays)

Strawberry Fields

2.00pm, Sunday 8 February, North Hagley Park

Valentines Day Dance

8.00pm, Saturday 14 February, Victoria Square

BellSouth Candlelight Opera

8.00pm, Saturday 21 February, North Hagley Park


1.00pm, Saturday 7 March, North Hagley Park

Southpower Classical Sparks

7.00pm, Saturday 14 March, North Hagley Park

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