Christmas Tree Festival

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Invercargill Christmas Tree Festival co-ordinators Rhonda Hoffman (left) and Courtney Skelt at ILT Stadium Southland.

IT’S a Christmas wonderland at ILT Stadium Southland.

Thirty-three businesses have decorated a tree for this year’s Christmas Tree Festival, organised by Waihopai City Lions and ILT Stadium Southland.

Event co-ordinator Rhonda Hoffman said once a tree was sponsored, it was up to each business to decorate it and to pick the charity before the tree was put out on display.

“Businesses are raising funds for the charity of their choice with the collection canister under each tree. Members of the public will get a voting token to vote for their favourite tree. The top three with the most votes will divide the money raised by the gold coin entry for their nominated charities,” she said.

The event was packed with fun for the whole family. Singing and dancing, a letterbox to post letters to Santa, photographs with Santa and colouring in were just some of the activities for children to enjoy.

A remembrance tree where people can write a loved one’s name and a gifting tree where people can donate items Family Works would then give to families in need were also set up.

ILT Stadium Southland general manager Nigel Skelt said this was a magical time of year.

“There is a lot of people in our community who don’t get the opportunity to celebrate Christmas. People who won’t have their own trees come in and you can see on their faces a spark of Christmas. If you can bring magic for people, then you’ve achieved what you’re here for,” he said.

Raffle tickets were also offered with all the money raised going back to the Christmas tree festival.

“Next year we would like to have 50 trees,” Mrs Hoffman said.

Anyone interested in sponsoring a tree for next year’s festival should email Courtney Skelt at courtney.skelt@stadiumsouth.co.nz or Rhonda Hoffman at rhonda.hoffman@xtra.co.nz

Invercargill Christmas Tree Festival, weekdays 4pm-8pm and weekends 10am-3pm, until December 22. Entry, gold coin donation. The winning tree will be announced on December 22.

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