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Christchurch City Council Media Release Tuesday 24 November 1988

Christchurch looks forward to a summer full of free entertainment.

Residents of Christchurch are again gearing up for a feast of free entertainment this summer. SummerTimes, a two and a half month long festival of free outdoor entertainment kicks off with the biggest New Years Eve Party in Christchurch and culminates with the South Island’s biggest event, Southpower Classical Sparks on 13 March next year. SummerTimes has been a feature of Christchurch’s festival calendar since the early eighties.

Just a few days after the excitement of the New Years Eve Party in Cathedral Square, KidsPlay begins its season at various suburban parks, combining Mr Moonís Amazing Games and a cushion theatre production of ìSuper Nanî. Each session of the event attracts hundreds of children.

A long-time favourite event of the SummerTimes festival is the Tip Top Ice Cream Teddy Bearís Picnic. Kids, parents, grandparents and their bears will all head to North Hagley Park on Sunday 10 January for the annual ëbig day outí 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.


Just a fortnight later the music and the fashion of the sixties takes centre stage in North Hagley Park. Like a mini Woodstock, Strawberry Fields attracts thousands of people dressed in flares, tie dyed t-shirts and floral dresses. The event has become a firm favourite with nineties teenagers while remaining as popular as ever with their parents. This year sixties pop icon, Ray Columbus, will entertain.


All of Shakespeare’s 37 plays, 120 sonnets and numerous songs will be creatively squeezed into 97 minutes of side-splitting hilarity as The Court Jesters present ‘The Complete Works of Willliam Shakespeare (abridged)’ in the Daffodil Lawns at the Botanic Gardens. The free Summer Theatre Season begins on 15 January and continues until 31 January with evening shows and weekend matinees.


On Waitangi day New Zealand’s hottest hip hop artist Che Fu will perform at Melt in North Hagley Park. The afternoon concert will also feature Christchurch bands I & I Pacific Reggae, Fuce, Bunyip, Rusk and Kajed, as well as off-stage entertainment including skateboarding and half court basketball. Melt begins at midday on 6 February.


An evening of dancing and romancing under the stars is on the cards for the SummerTimes Valentines Day Dance on Sunday 14 February. Victoria Squareís amphitheatre will be filled with romantic music from lounge and swing band Five, soft lighting and fairy lit trees, providing the perfect atmosphere for dancing the night away with that special someone.


Two major events take place during the final fortnight of the festival, the first of which is the Candlelight Opera on Saturday 27 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 across North Hagley Park.


SummerTimes ends on Saturday 13 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.

SummerTimes also features lunchtime concerts in Cathedral Square on Fridays, a series of brass and pipe band performances in the Botanic Gardens on Sundays and Sweet Suburbia - a series of weekend community days.

Summer Events magazines, featuring 13 pages of SummerTimes events, will be delivered to all Christchurch households in Christchurch. Anyone outside this area who would like to be sent a magazine should phone (03) 941 6422 during office hours.


For further information contact the SummerTimes Publicity Co-ordinator,

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

or email


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