SkyCity ups its Winter Festival support

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Queenstown’s Winter Festival, struck by the recent loss of a major sponsor, is hailing an increased commitment from SkyCity Entertain­ment Group. 

The casino giant, which wholly owns SkyCity Queenstown Casino, is upping its existing sponsorship of the annual winter party, enabling the return of festival glamour event the ball. 

New festival manager Lisa Buckingham says she can’t quantify SkyCity’s new funding level beyond saying it’s “significant” – however Mountain Scene understands it could represent an extra $20,000. 

SkyCity’s commitment is a boost to festival organisers dealt a major blow after long-standing partner Air New Zealand didn’t renew its contract. 

SkyCity Queenstown gen­­­eral manager Michelle Baillie says: “SkyCity is proud to be involved in Winter Festival once again, having supported the event through providing a free live entertainment venue for a number of years. 

“The festival ball is an iconic and popular event and we see great synergy with SkyCity’s entertainment brand.” 

The ball was axed last year after drinks sponsor Lindauer pulled out. 

This year’s Casino Royale-themed ball will be held at the newly-upgraded Queenstown Memorial Centre on June 22. 

Buckingham adds: “When I first started as festival manager, locals and visitors alike expressed that the ball was sorely missed in 2012’s line-up, so we are delighted to see its comeback in 2013. 

“It provides fantastic hosting opportunities, it’s great for the business community and it’s also seen as something that’s worth attending if you’re from out of town.” 

Buckingham adds that local Gibbston Valley Wines will be exclusive wine supplier for both the ball and other festival events. 

Although the entertainment line-up’s still be to confirmed, she advises people to get in quick when tickets – $149 a pop – go on sale April 29.