Taupo is set to be the coolest place to be this winter with the recent launch of the inaugural Taupo Winter Festival.
Taking place in the middle of the July school holidays the festival aims to provide activities and entertainment that will appeal to a wide range of locals and visitors.
"The Taupo Winter Festival is a four day long weekend crammed full with plenty of fun activities and events," said festival director Nicola Carter.
"With more than 30 different things included in the Festival programme, we're sure there is something for everyone in the line-up."
"We want to deliver a genuine event that is proudly owned by the wider Taupo community that provides plenty of opportunities to create long lasting fun memories," she said.
A general theme of the festival is free, family orientated activities during the day and ticketed shows in the evening. The free activities include a 35m long ice slide, a giant colouring-in designed by renowned Taupo artist Donovan Bixley, art exhibitions, a light trail through a large public park, and a free pancake breakfast.
"We also have world class theatre, music and comedy shows at the 2016 Festival," said programme manager Kylie Hawker-Green.
"It's a great mix of ticketed shows that we are confident will be very well received by our Taupo audiences."
"From Chamber music performed on period instrument, to toe-tapping jazz and dancing the night away to 80's tunes, the music programme covers all tastes," said Ms Hawker-Green.
"Wilson Dixon makes a welcome return to Taupo to share his comedic cowboy tales and we are thrilled to have Amelia Dunbar and Emma Newborn presenting 'Sons of a Bitch', the sequel to critically acclaimed 'The Bitches Box', as our opening night show".
This new festival has been two years in the making, and the programme was recently launched at a private function for partners and friends of the festival.
"We're hugely grateful for the level of support we have received during the planning stages of the Taupo Winter Festival," said Mrs Carter.
"The programme launch was a great opportunity to acknowledge and recognise the 54 businesses that have come on board to support us."
The festival is presented by the One Taupo Charitable Trust, a new entity that was established in 2015. The trust aims to generate proceeds from the Taupo Winter Festival and return these to the Taupo community to support families who have to travel outside the area to seek medical assistance for sick children.
Tickets go on sale at 9am on Monday 30 May 2016 from Ticketek, and the full programme can be viewed at www.taupowinterfestival.co.nz.