Elves eager to foster festive spirit

By Peter de Graaf

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Kerikeri Christmas elf Dani Dawson - one of the organisers of an upcoming Christmas festival - with junior elf Brin, 1. Photo /Peter de Graaf.
Kerikeri Christmas elf Dani Dawson - one of the organisers of an upcoming Christmas festival - with junior elf Brin, 1. Photo /Peter de Graaf.

A band of volunteers calling themselves the Kerikeri Christmas Elves is hoping to make sure the Bay of Islands town has a Christmas to remember.

While Kerikeri always has a well-attended Santa parade, its centre was last year noticeably lacking in decoration and festive spirit.

The elves are determined to change that, starting small this year but building up to a large-scale Christmas in the Park festival in future.

Their focus this year will be on a free family event and a lit-up Christmas tree in Kerikeri Domain after the November 30 parade. The line-up of entertainers is Kerikeri singer/songwriter Troy Kingi, singer Taylah Barker backed by guitar-playing paramedic Nick Scott, Aliens, Scarlet Fever, Riverview School kapa haka and a combined churches choir singing carols. Families will be encouraged to bring a picnic.

One of the chief elves is Cinema Cafe co-owner Therese Wickbom, the instigator of last year's Bald Angels fundraiser for hospice kids. She said a Far North firm had donated a 7m-tall tree which it would transplant into a large pot and deliver it to the domain in time for the parade.

If the tree thrived, it would return each year; otherwise the group would raise money for an artificial tree.

A dunking machine had also been organised with Mrs Wickbom contacting politicians and principals to see who was brave enough to take part.

One of the goals of this year's event was to fundraise for next year's Christmas in the Park. "We want to build it up into a great Northland event everyone can look forward to," she said.

This year's Kerikeri Lions Christmas parade will be held from noon to 3pm on Saturday, November 30, instead of the Friday afternoon of previous years, with Christmas in the Park from 3-6pm. Floats can be entered in community and business categories.

The Bald Angels and Kerikeri Christmas Elves are also holding a toy drive for disadvantaged children around the Far North.

Anyone who wants to donate children's gifts can do so at Cafe Cinema on Hobson Ave or Kerikeri Plunket, on Kerikeri Rd near New World.

Recipients will be nominated by police, Plunket and social agencies.

- Northern Advocate

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