Fireworks will feature on the second day of this year’s truncated Queenstown WinterFest.
The 43rd Winter Festival – chopped from 10 days to four to “re-energise” it – runs from Thursday June 22 till Sunday June 25.
Organisers will unveil most of the programme in May, but have eked out a couple of details ahead of this coming Tuesday’s 100-days-out milestone.
In reply to the most-asked question about the new-format festival, director Lisa Buckingham confirms the popular fireworks display will again take place on the Friday.
Traditionally, they’ve sparked the official opening of WinterFest, but for the first time, a “special” opening celebration’s planned for the night before.
“It’s been liberating and challenging to start with a clean slate,” Buckingham says.
Without divulging details, she confirms the action-packed programme will include old favourites and new elements.
Last year, Destination Queenstown boss Graham Budd, whose organisation owns the festival, hinted some favourites will be dropped.
“We won’t be able to literally cram everything in,” he said.
In a new initiative, however, Buckingham is encouraging local businesses to help shape the programme at a DowntownQT meeting at the Queenstown Memorial Centre at 2pm this coming Monday.
“Bars and restaurants can pitch for ideas to include in the programme and downtown retailers are being canvassed for a retail initiative.”
She believes the shorter festival will create a long weekend that Australian and Kiwi visitors will want to come for, but that locals will embrace, too.
“While the business focus of festival is to attract visitors to Queenstown for the start of the winter season, the festival wouldn’t fly without engaging the local community and the energy that participation by businesses and residents brings.”