Kawerau's Yuletide show warms hearts

By Katie Holland

At least 10,000 people were treated to scorching weather, top-class performances and a vibe of "love and harmony" at this year's Kawerau Christmas in the Park.

It was a full day of festive celebrations for the town on Saturday beginning with a float parade through town, followed by an afternoon performance then the main evening concert and fireworks display.

Kawerau District Council event co-ordinator Lee Barton said the show at Prideaux Park had been a success.

"The Radio 1XX Community Christmas Concert showcased a range of local talent during the searing heat of the day, as thousands set up a camp of tents, umbrellas and gazebos to enjoy the live entertainment. Monty Morrison pulled together a fantastic line up for the evening show in what has been widely considered as one of the best yet," he said.

Mr Barton said reggae band 1814 had been "simply incredible" on what had been a memorable night in Kawerau.

"One of my other highlights was Sharon Emirali who pulled off some sweet latest hits which I could've boogied to all night."

He said he wanted to congratulate everyone who had played a part in a wonderful day.

"The overall vibe of the day was one of love and harmony amongst the Kawerau community and we had no incidents and everyone went home thoroughly entertained after the amazing fireworks display."

The show's MC Russell Harrison said every year the show just got better and better and this year was no exception.

"It brings the community together to focus on something positive," he said, adding that the weather had definitely played its part.

"It was a beautiful Bay of Plenty sweltering afternoon that led into a calm and cloudless night. Great weather equals great numbers," he said.

Mr Harrison said there had been a high calibre of performers, ranging from the "contemporary edge" of Emirali to classical, opera, jazz and blues.

He said it was also great that up-and-coming local entertainers had been given a chance to perform in such a positive environment.

Mr Harrison said he would be proud to be involved with the event again next year, if invited. "It's a wonderful event for that community, hopefully it sets them up for a great Christmas."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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