Lights go out on parade

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Winter Festival bosses say they’re disappointed that one of the event’s most iconic activities had to be pulled due to lack of funds.

The popular mask and lantern parade that’s synonymous with Mardis Gras, held in downtown Queenstown last night, didn’t take place – surprising many punters keen to see the colourful display.

Instead, crowds were treated to four hours of music from Wakatipu High musicians, plus London-based I Am Giant, The Jefferson from Australia, OpShop frontman Jason Kerrison’s new band T*B*C* and Kiwi headline act Dragon.

Festival boss Simon Green says funding for the parade was “unexpectedly denied” at a late stage and his team didn’t have enough resources to try to save it.

“We’re all disappointed but also if there is a silver lining to it, is that the reaction that we’ve got this year has identified just how important it is,” he says.

“We’ll obviously strive to get the funding again next year and hopefully the response we’ve received…will help encourage the funding agencies to give it the support that we think it deserves.”