Christmas in the Park not viable

Melina (5) and Alexander Parven (7) at last year's Christmas in the Park in Invercargill.

YMCA South and Massav Productions have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Christmas in the Park due to the ongoing uncertainty around Covid-19 and associated restrictions.

The free event had been scheduled for December 18 in Invercargill’s Queens Park, but with thousands of people usually attending, and Government regulations in place for an unknown time, complying with limited numbers and social distancing was not a viable option.

YMCA South chief executive Vanessa Hughey said while it was hugely disappointing to cancel the event, the health and safety of the community came first.

“We were really excited to work alongside Massav Productions and work together to put on something really special for the community, with local entertainment and activities for all ages, but with such a popular event even on a wet evening, more than 800 people would come along, we just can’t safely manage that in the current environment.”

Ms Hughey said the YMCA was looking at the potential for a family-based activity within the park which could be provided within current restrictions.

“Christmas in the Park is a key part of the festive period, and while it is clear it cannot happen in its current format, we’re looking at what else we might be able to do for families so they can still enjoy time together with so many events being cancelled or postponed,” she said.

Both Massav Productions and YMCA South were committed to a bigger and better Christmas in the Park for 2022.

Massav Productions owner Blair Savory said he was disappointed this year’s event could not go ahead.

“Sadly, the year of cancellations continues. We were excited to have the YMCA on board for the first time and together we were designing a great event for 2021. Unfortunately, we will have to wait until next year now, but the safety of the community has to come first.

“It makes us eager to ensure next year’s event is one to remember.”