Queenstown Winter Fest action hots up

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A hot tub and al fresco bars will grace downtown Queenstown for this year’s 40th Winter Festival.

The features, introduced by new American Express Winter Festival sponsor DB Breweries, are designed to create a welcoming hub throughout the 10-day carnival.

Free hot tub sessions will be held daily on Earnslaw Park from the second day of the festival on June 21 at 2pm and 6pm, complete with movie screenings and other outdoor entertainment.

The tubs form part of DB Breweries’ new ‘embrace the elements’ campaign, communications advisor Simon Smith says, adding: “This fits very well and is perfect for bringing that Winter Festival feeling to life.”

A DB Export pop-up bar will also open on Earnslaw Park each day from the 21st from 4.30-7.30pm. DB is also using The Deck, above Wilkinsons Pharmacy, as a showcase bar for the duration of the festival and will run a ‘Winter Forest Bar’ on Marine Parade reserve from 4pm to 9pm daily.

Festival boss Lisa Buckingham says it’s all designed to bring more atmosphere to downtown throughout the 10 days.

“Often when some of the ticketed events were going on inside venues, there wasn’t so much happening around the rest of the place, so we’re really hoping that some of the new additions will help to do that.”

Buckingham says the pop-up bars are open for limited hours so won’t compete with existing operators.

Adding to the effect will be the Winter Wonderland Ice Rink above Horne Creek on the Village Green.

In a new event, Arrowtown MasterChef New Zealand finalists Jaimie Stodler and Bec Stanley are holding a ‘Winter Kitchen’ festival cooking masterclass in the Queenstown Memorial Centre on June 25. The friends this week reached the final three of the TV One contest.

Pre-sale tickets to seven festival events can now be bought by American Express card-holders – the ball, two comedy nights, Winter Kitchen, Thriller in the Chiller, a whisky tasting and a panel discussion entitled ‘where will the snow be’.

Tickets for the general public go on sale on May 5.