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Napier Street Carnival on next Saturday

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Napier CBD is expected to be even busier than normal with Lower Emerson Street closed to traffic for a special inner city celebration.

The Napier Street Carnival, which will run from 9am to 1pm Saturday 18 January, will feature shopping, music, food and fun, alongside the usual Napier Urban Farmers’ Market at Clive Square.

There will be plenty of entertainment for all ages and activities just for children, including The Bubble Man, face painting, bikes and scooters, chalk drawing and dancing.

The iWay and Napier City Council ‘Open Streets’ event will be similar to the popular Ahuriri Street Festival, which ran successfully early last month. Retailers including cafes will be able to make use of the extra space, and it’s a chance for people on foot or who travel by bike to experience what it’s like to move around a vehicle free space in an urban environment, says Lyndal Johansson, Community Walking and Cycling Development Officer.

"We encourage people to make the most of it, even get right into the spirit of things and walk or cycle into town. Replacing the noise of traffic with the sound of people enjoying themselves in a vehicle free setting is not something anyone gets to be a part of very often," she says.

Holding an event like this is a great way to increase a city’s vibrancy, even if it is for just a short time, says Andy Long, Planning Project Facilitator, Napier City Council. Showcasing inner city streets in this way can give businesses an opportunity to increase sales on a busy day, he adds.

Open street festivals are run successfully around the world. Bogota in Colombia was the first city to hold an open street type event in the 1970s.This tradition continues to date, closing 20-plus kilometres of roads each Sunday to encourage people to cycle or walk through the central city area. In New Zealand, only Auckland and Christchurch have successfully held an open street event in the past.

The carnival will go ahead rain or shine, unless it is deemed unsafe due to weather conditions.

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