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Winter Revellers ready for 39th American Express Queenstown Winter Festival

June 21, 2013 DESTINATION No Comments Email Email

The official start to winter in Queenstown will blast into action on the shores of Lake Wakatipu when the 39th American Express Queenstown Winter Festival kicks off tomorrow (Friday, 21 June).

Dave Dobbyn

Dave Dobbyn

From 5:30pm, thousands of visitors and locals are expected to crowd downtown Queenstown to join the American Express Opening Party and Fireworks, the always explosive start to New Zealand’s ten coolest days of winter.

MC’d by Kiwi comedians Urzila Carlson and Paul Ego, the event will start with a celebration of local talent with performances by Wakatipu High rock band The Fletcherz and winners of the recent Queenstown original song contest Songstars.

Iconic Kiwi musician Dave Dobbyn will perform with 20 students from local primary schools before the highly-anticipated fireworks display signals the official declaration that winter has started and celebrations for gathered revelers have begun.

After the fireworks, Dave Dobbyn will perform an hour long set of kiwi anthems from his forty plus year career.

Festival Manager Lisa Buckingham says that all the year-long preparations are in place to ensure that the southern hemisphere’s biggest celebration of winter is going to be as successful as the thirty–eight before.Queenstown Aerial Winter Views

“The Festival team are ready, Queenstown is ready and, surrounded by picture perfect fresh snow, nature is more than ready to get this winter season officially declared underway.”

The Queenstown community pulls out all stops annually to stage what is now the southern hemisphere’s biggest celebration of winter.  A local business that has risen to the challenge above and beyond in 2013 is Queenstown’s iconic and much-loved entertainment venue, The World Bar.

Just one month after the venue in the heart of downtown Queenstown burned down, The World Bar will launch a temporary ‘pop up’ venue called ‘The Find’ on Friday 28 June to host Thank George It’s Friday, a much-anticipated event on the Festival calendar and their own official opening party.

While everyone’s attention will be on celebrating with music, humour and fireworks on Friday night, earlier in the day the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce organised Gen-i Business Luncheon at Skyline Gondola will discuss Queenstown’s new conference centre.

Ngai Tahu General Manager David Kennedy will facilitate the debate between Alan Trotter, CEO Conference and Incentives New Zealand,Bjoern Spreitzer, International Business Events Manager from Tourism New Zealand, Jim Boult, CEO Christchurch Airport and Adam Feeley, CEO Queenstown Lakes District Council.

Back downtown, the American Express Winter Wonderland Ice Rink returns to the Village Green this year and from tomorrow, people can skate from 10am until 10pm over the next 10 days.

To see the full line up of the programme and individual event details check out the complete American Express Queenstown Winter Festival calendar online at or pick up a programme at information outlets throughout the region.

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