Santa Claus, an ice rink and a foam cannon are among the attractions kicking off Christmas celebrations in the capital this weekend, after a challenging 2020.
Lambton Quay and its surrounding streets will welcome Wellingtonians and visitors from midday on Saturday and Sunday for the annual A Very Welly Christmas event.
Offerings would include food trucks, face painting, crafts and live performances, with Santa Claus making an appearance over the weekend. Carols would start at Midland Park from 5pm on Saturday.
MetService meteorologist Rob Kerr said Saturday afternoon would be the best weather of the weekend, but northerly winds would return towards the end of the day.
"Saturday will be better than Sunday … early in the morning there should be some strong southerlies but they'll die out, so around the middle of the day and the afternoon shouldn't be too bad," he said.
"Sunday's going to be a wet day really – rain and strong northerlies, but you might see a change to southerlies late on Sunday."
Event organisers have said the event will go ahead rain or shine, unless there is any safety risk to the public or Santa.
A Very Welly Christmas had been a festive favourite in the capital since 2016.
As New Zealand remained at alert level 1 there would be no Government restrictions on gatherings, but organisers asked the public to use the hand sanitiser available, sign in with the Covid Tracer App and avoid the event if unwell.
Wellington mayor Andy Foster encouraged Wellingtonians to support the event and shop local this Christmas.
"A Very Welly Christmas is a popular and long-established event on the capital's calendar, and all the usual crowd pleaser activities and performers will be back for all to enjoy – with some new treats to make the festivities even more vibrant, accessible, and unique.
"We encourage everyone to head to the event by public transport, by foot or bike, and for those who need to drive there's also two free hours parking over the weekend available in Clifton Car Park as part of our Love Local campaign."
The weekend parking special was being offered at Clifton Car Park - which could be accessed via the Terrace - offering the first 2 hours free and every hour thereafter $2 - with a maximum of $6 per day.
As part of the Love Local campaign, a Shop-on Shop-off bus would also run a city loop between the Wellington Railway Station Lambton Quay and Courtenay Place on the weekends throughout December.
The campaign would also feature a love local pop-up shop on the corner of Willis and Mercer streets – featuring a number of artisan offerings like Fix & Fogg peanut butter.