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Christchurch City Council Media Release

SummerTimes festival dates announced.

The Christchurch City Council have announced the dates for the SummerTimes  festival’s major events.

The two and a half month long festival of free outdoor entertainment begins with a New Years Eve Party in Cathedral Square featuring family entertainment and the ringing of the Cathedral bells at midnight. A few days later KidsPlay begins its season at various city parks, combining The Amazing Mr Moon’s ‘Amazing Games’ and a theatre production for children. The event debuted last year and attracted hundreds of children to each session.

A longtime 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 beautiful gardens of Mona Vale, this traditional English pantomime is a tale of heroes, villains, romance and excitement on the high seas. 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 Bell South Candlelight Opera on Saturday 21 February. Designed to appeal to opera buffs and novices 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 the following weekend. It’s highlight of the year for rock fans, a chance to see a free concert by an international rock act. Past artists have included Jimmy Barnes, Crowded House and Hunters & Collectors. Who will it be this time? All will be revealed in December, but rock fans are sure to be thrilled.

The festival ends on Saturday 14 March with Southpower Classical Sparks, the biggest event in the South Island. The Christchurch Symphony Orchestra presents a programme of popular classical music, leading to a spectacular fireworks display marking the end of the festival and the end of daylight savings.

SummerTimes will also feature a series of lunchtime concerts on Fridays and a series of brass and pipe band performances on Sundays.

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

Strawberry Fields

2.00pm, Sunday 2 February, North Hagley Park

Valentines Day Dance

8.00pm, Saturday 14 February, Victoria Square

Bell South Candlelight Opera

8.00pm, Saturday 21 February, North Hagley Park


2.00pm, Saturday 28 February, North Hagley Park

Southpower Classical Sparks

7.30pm, Saturday 14 March, North Hagley Park

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