Tauranga's Christmas in the Park is a community-focused fundraiser and a fun day of entertainment which brings the whole community together to support needy causes. Sandra Conchie reports.
The spirit of giving was alive and well at Blake Park as thousands of people poured through the gates for the sixth Christmas in the Park charity event.
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Among the throngs at Blake Park on Saturday were Bellevue couple Christoph and Charlie Mehlberg and their children Zafrie, 6, and 1-1/2-year-old Jasper.
"This is the first time our whole family has been able to attend as Christoph, who is a chef, is usually working and misses out," Charlie said.
"Christmas in the Park is such a great fun event and we also love that it's a really inclusive event which helps support the awesome work of our local charities. "
Charlie is part of Mauao Crazy Choir who performed on stage along with Ria Hall, Anika Moa, Indecisive and The Harmonic Resonators, and Santa also made an appearance.
Heaps of candy floss, pony rides, bouncy castles and plenty of other great family-friendly fun, tasty treats helped to keep the Christmas carnival atmosphere humming.
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People also snapped up Christmas presents from the candy-striped market stalls.
One of the event organisers, Rachelle Duffy, said in past years between 5000 to 8000 people had attended this charitable event and hoped for similar attendance numbers.
But within an hour of the gate's opening at 10am, 4000 to 5000 people had poured through the gates, and the crowd numbers continued to grow on the hour, she said.
Christmas in the Park aimed to raise funds to support local charities and community groups working with needy families and children.
"This is a really great community-led event and everyone coming together to help support our local charities who will benefit in some shape or form is fantastic," Duffy said.
Over the past three years, the event had raised more than $20,000 for charity.
Local charities such as the Tauranga Foodbank and Homes Hope and Women's Refuge
were a few of the charities that would benefit from the event.