The old Placemakers building lying dormant in Kāpiti Rd, Paraparaumu, is set to have a month long transformation into a Christmas Fantastical venue.
Sarah Ferguson and business partner Emma Oliver, no strangers to event planning and producing large scale events, take inspiration from trending events around the word and are creating the Christmas Fantastical with a Kiwi twist.
Sarah said while overseas Christmas pop-ups are often all about the photos, this event is all about the experience.
"While you can definitely get some good Instagram shots it is all about creating memories."
Bringing back the Kāpiti Island photo wall which formerly featured in Hightide Cafe, there will be a bit of Kāpiti and a lot of Kiwi summer featured in the Kiwiana zone, which will invoke memories and make the event enjoyable for parents as well as their children.
"We hope it will give people an opportunity to come together without their devices.
"You can come with your devices to take pictures but make the most of the sand and the 3000 snowballs to play with."
Forget the traditional walk through Santa's grotto, and classic picture on Santa's lap, the pop-up Christmas Fantastical is a festive experience you can immerse yourself in and interact with.
Themed areas to explore with a cast and hosts to interact with, an Elf Village, snowball fights, candy cane croquet, a Kiwi Christmas zone, plus lashings of candy canes along with Santa and more surprises, there will plenty of opportunities to get your Christmas card photos while getting in the Christmas spirit.
The Christmas Fantastical is not about looking but about interacting and being part of the fun.
Christmas Fantastical has been created by the same team that produced the highly successful North Pole Express steam trains that has run in Kāpiti for the past two years.
When heritage trains became unavailable in 2019 due to rail network access issues, Christmas Fantastical was created to continue to spread Christmas fun in the wider Wellington region.
Not wanting to leave anyone out, Sarah and Emma are making the event accessible for those in the community with special needs.
"We are also endeavouring to include stronger elements of accessibility for members of the community with special needs, such as a special sensory session and a team member fluent in NZSL," Sarah said.
"The sensory session will have less noise, less bright lights and a breakout space for those who need it."
The month long pack-in began last week at the old Placemakers building on Kapiti Rd with the Christmas experience opening on December 18.
To join in on a Christmas Fantastical, bookings are essential with the special sensory session being help on the morning of Wednesday, December 18.
Limited numbers per session mean bookings are essential but also mean there will be no queue on the day, so no hassle of waiting around in lines.
When: December 18-24
Where: 160 Kapiti Rd, Paraparaumu
Sessions: Tickets are booked in sessions and entry numbers per hour are strictly limited to ensure guests can truly enjoy the experience. Session start times are every quarter hour and once inside you are welcome to stay as long as you wish.
Price: Under 3 free, children 3-13 years and seniors $19, adults $25
Tickets: Purchase through EventBrite