Christmas is coming, and this year’s festivities have got a new look and four times the fun with the un-four-gettable Christmas in the Quarters.
Santa’s elves have been busy coming up with a refreshed Christmas festival for 2023, so this year there’ll be four free whānau-friendly events and four themes happening in four different parts of the city over four weekends.
Christmas in the Quarters will see a range of entertainment and activities including choirs, performances, bands, music groups, circus, brass bands, and Christmas favourites the snowball dome, ice rink, foam pit, and much more – and of course the big red guy will make a guest appearance for the main finale event at Waitangi Park.
Mayor Tory Whanau says this year’s Christmas festivities may have a new look, but it’ll be more accessible for everyone across the city – and just as much fun.
“It’s been a busy and often challenging year for many Wellingtonians, so the next few months of summer events and activities will bring some welcome sun, fun and entertainment to the city – and Christmas in the Quarters kicks it all off with a bell!
“With four events in four different locations we’re sharing the aroha around the city so it’ll be easy to access for locals and visitors, plus a great boost for businesses and the economy.
“So grab your friends and whānau, enjoy the events and activities happening each weekend, get into the festive spirit and get some Christmas shopping done while you’re at it.”
Council’s Manager City Events, Stephen Blackburn says the events are smaller versions of previous years, giving people the opportunity to choose the one that suits them best.
“As the city is undergoing a number of infrastructural projects to make it a city fit for the 21st century, we are having some playful fun with a road cone Christmas tree and elves wearing hi vis vests and road cone hats throughout the festivities.
“This year we’re also showcasing the uniqueness of four quarters of the CBD, which all provide a different experience for visitors to each area.
“The locations may differ from previous years, but the usual crowd pleaser activities and performances will be back to entertain kids of all ages.”
Sat 25 Nov (rain day Sun 26 Nov) | 11am – 5pm | Midland Park | Crafts Activities and Face Painting.
Sat 2 Dec (rain day Sun 3 Dec) | 11am – 5pm | Glover Park | Music – from carols to hip-hop.
Sat 9 Dec (rain day Sun 10 Dec) | 11am – 5pm | Queens Wharf Plaza | A Circus Extravaganza by COLOSSAL and street busking.
Sat 16 Dec (rain day Sun 17 Dec) | 11am – 5pm | Waitangi Park | Santa’s arrival and activities.
The CBD will also be dressed for Christmas with city-wide Christmas-themed flags, and three Christmas trees – Queens Wharf Plaza, Courtenay Place, and Midland Park. The Bucket Fountain on Cuba Mall will also be lit up to celebrate the silly season.
There won’t be any road closures for these events, but the public are encouraged to walk, bike, or use public transport to come to the events as parking may be limited.
All venues are accessible, and accessible toilets are available.
In the event of bad weather, the postponement date for each event is 11am-5pm on the Sunday directly after each event.
For more information visit wellington.govt.nz/christmas and keep an eye on Council’s social media channels for updates.
Don’t forget WellingtonNZ’s digital Wellington Advent Calendar is back to open doors from 1 December with 24 outstanding retail and hospitality offers valid until the end of February 2024. Last year nearly more than 270,000 advent calendar vouchers were redeemed.
History of Christmas events in Wellington
The first Wellington Santa Parade was held in 1949, it followed a short route around the Basin Reserve.
It grew from there, and at its peak there were about 50 floats and performers running from Ballance St, down Lambton Quay, onto Victoria St and along Manners St.
In 2016 a new format was introduced, with A Very Welly Christmas turning Lambton Quay into a winter wonderland for two days of festivities.
While there is no full Christmas Parade anymore, Santa will arrive in a small walking parade on Saturday 16 December at Waitangi Park.