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Sensory feast sets the scene as 2018 Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival kicks off in style DAY ONE: Thursday 21 June 2017

June 22, 2018 Events / Whats On No Comments Email Email

A symphony of light and sound heralded the launch of the four-day Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival as it kicked off for its 44th year this evening. 

Two hundred torch bearers, comprising of delighted locals and visitors, cast a glow through the streets of central Queenstown down on to Queenstown Beach where they were greeted by three double hull Waka Ama.

A poetic Karanga welcomed the paddlers on to the beach in front of thousands of spectators, while Michael Skerret, Ngai Tahu Kaumatua, delivered the Whaikorero followed by a rousing Kapa Haka performed by students from Wakatipu High School.

As the crowd moved to view the Bath House stage in its new water side location, a welcome from Mayor Jim Boult, officially opened the Festival and emphasized the pride locals have about their city and the iconic event. He concluded the formalities with recognition of the Festival as a celebration “of our unique characters, our spectacular landscapes and our ability to have a bloody good time”.

Tiki Taane started the party in true New Zealand style as one of the first of many great Kiwi music stars who will take the stage throughout the four day celebration, followed by DJ superstar duo, Sweet Mix Kids.

A slice of the mountain popped up in the central city thanks to Festival host mountain, Cardrona, in the form of The Legends of Steel Brecon Street Rail Showdown featuring Winter Olympic Medalists Zoi Sadowski-Synnott and Nico Porteous.

Festival director, Rae Baker was thrilled with the enthusiasm of the crowd on opening evening. ‘The fantastic turn out tonight and extra-special lakeside ceremony was an unforgettable way to start the Festival,” said Ms Baker. “We’re really looking forward to seeing over 40,000 people have an incredible experience on the mountain, in the resort and at the many free attractions and activities available over the next four days.”

The stunning weather forecast for tomorrow is promising a spectacular day on Cardrona for the Monteiths Dog Derby and Dog Barking while the music and comedy line-up continues followed by the iconic Fireworks display over lake Wakatipu.

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