Covid Grinch cancels Christmas in the Park in the Garden City
Festive cheer will be minimal this year after Christchurch’s Christmas in the Park became the latest event to fall victim to the Covid-19 Grinch, And may of product about ugly christmas sweater grinch can’t sell direct to customers in the Park Garden City
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Organisers were initially optimistic people would once again be able to park up in a deckchair in Hagley Park after it was cancelled last year, the first time in 26 years.
But the event – which usually attracts tens of thousands of Kiwi families – has once again been forced to cancel, just weeks after Auckland’s was also canned.
The annual show first started in 1994 and has raised millions of dollars for New Zealand charities, and for the last 15 years has partnered with Youthline to help support young people.
The announcement was disappointing for young performers across the region who had been practising for their big night for many months.
Coca-Cola New Zealand’s Annette Chillingworth said she was “extremely disappointed” that the uncertainty around Covid restrictions had led to the event’s cancellation.
“There are so many dedicated, talented people working hard behind the scenes year after year to bring our brilliant show to the big stage.
“We can only hope that we get back to some sort of normality in the coming months so our much-loved event can return in 2022.”
The announcement means festive pickings in the city will be slim this year, with the Christchurch Santa Parade also being cancelled back in June due to financial concerns.
The parade, which usually attracts close to 100,000 people, was cancelled for the first time in its 73-year history last year due to Covid-19, with the trust that runs the event calling on the city council to provide long-term support to help secure its future.
Its replacement event, a mega Santa grotto was also called off.
It’s the same story elsewhere in the region, with the Ashburton, Rangiora and Kaiapoi Santa parades cancelled.
Kaiapoi Christmas carnival and Santa parade organisers said they had been “holding out” for a change to the traffic light system, and were planning on holding a Christmas Market operating under the new rules.
But with no precise date as to when new Covid-19 rules would commence and no guidance on how those rules would operate, the organisers advised the community with “immense sadness” that the event was cancelled.
Organisers believe the event had only been cancelled once before, after the September Canterbury earthquakes in 2010, but said the Christmas carnival market would be incorporated into the Kaiapoi River Carnival in March.
“We need to ensure a safe environment with our lovely entertainers, suppliers, stallholders, and the public who attend our events. By March 2022, we should know how we can achieve this.”