What a way to kick off The American Express Winter Festival 2008

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The first ever Festival themed flight landed on Friday June 27 at 2pm with a plane packed to capacity with passengers who had winged their way direct from Sydney to Queenstown on Air New Zealand’s ‘Festival in The Sky’.

Onboard entertainment from Goodnight Nurse and in flight MC’S Justine Smith and Simon McKinney kept the atmosphere well and truly electric.

Enjoying all the Festival flight madness were competition winners who as part of a festival campaign with Sydney’s Nova 96.9FM won a trip to Queenstown that included flights, accommodation and tickets to Festival events.

From there the Festival fever pitch just increased as the American Express Opening Party kicked off with the Master Blasters, DIVA and Te Radar as master of ceremonies.

On a perfectly clear wintry night thousands of locals and visitors rugged up and headed down to Earnslaw Park to enjoy what can only be described as an awesome fireworks display.

Prime Minister Helen Clark officially opened the Festival as images of the fireworks were beamed live across the country on Campbell Live.

From there it was on to the first event to be held the Kawarau Falls Station Pavilion. The American Express After Party was a total sold out success with revellers making the most of the gorgeous surroundings not to mention the dance floor of the pavilion as they partied the night away, thanks to the sounds of DIVA.

Festival Director Sally Feinerman said she was ecstatic with the new Festival Hub. ‘When you look around and see such an amazing venue