The home-grown entertainment at Christmas At the Park was a hit with those that weathered a brief shower.

The founder of Amici Forever (and 1989 Head Boy of Havelock North High School), Geoff Sewell, was the main attraction.

He said 15 years ago he pitched the concept of an opera band to entertainment entrepreneur Simon Cowell.

"He said, 'It's a terrible idea Geoff, it'll never work'.


"And you know what? A year later Simone and I formed the world's first opera band - two Kiwis – and we sold 3.5 million albums.

"After one million albums, Simon Cowell jumped on the band wagon and created a group called Il Divo."

Sewell got into the festive spirit, singing Jingle Bells with his teenage daughters.

Event organiser David Trim said it's a special time for families "when you can actually just be for a few hours – just relax and enjoy some entertainment".

The free event, now in its twelfth year and held for the first time at the Hawke' Bay Regional Sports Park, had amusements for children including a confidence course and face painting.

"Mum and Dad can take the time to just relax and remember what Christmas is all about," Trim said.

"There is nothing else which has such a professional show – with the talent we put on stage – that is free to enter.

"So for all the families that don't want to go to an alcohol event, where most of the professional shows are angled now, this is the opportunity to enjoy that atmosphere you get and enjoy Christmas."


A passing shower of rain saw some scurry home early but those that remained were treated to a spectacular display of fireworks.

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