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Thursday, 23 May 2019 12:39 am

All aboard the bus to Christmas cheer in Wellington

toprightCHRISTMAS commuting appears to be bringing more Wellingtonians into the city centre’s seasonal cheer
thanks to the council’s generosity.

The Santa Parade on the Sunday will be a major test of the Wellington City Council’s new policy lowering bus fares every weekend leading up to the holidays.

“We are going to have to wait and see but anecdotally, there have been more people on the buses on Saturday’s and Sundays
since we lowered the fares,” council Communications Adviser Richard MacLean says.

A staple of Christmas, Wellingtons’ annual Santa Parade promises to be bigger than ever according to the council’s website.

However there is little detail about how and why.

“I think it will be bigger this year. There are, I think, more floats and participants than before,” Mr MacLean says.

The Santa Parade began in 1949, looping around the Basin Reserve, but now it starts at Ballance Street, travels down Lambton Quay and Willis Street, along Victoria Street before coming to an end in Manners Street.

Other old favourites include the Big Carol Sing on the December 20, held in the St James Theatre, and chances to meet Santa at the Underground Markets are part of the festivities.

The Wondrous Wellington Advent Calendar makes a comeback this year.

The sixth year of calendar website has a new twist – this is the first year it has been taken to the streets.

Positively Wellington Tourism, a unit of the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency, has worked with the Wellington Chocolate Factory to create a city wide chocolate calendar.

David Perks, Chief Executive of Positively Wellington Tourism, says the collaboration between his team and the Chocolate Factory fits the spirit of both the calendar and the season.

“We loved the idea of pop-up doors around the city, with delicious Wellington Chocolate Factory treats as giveaways, because it had that playful sense of surprise and delight,” he says

When making the calendar every year, they try and showcase an equal amount of hospitality, event, retail and activity spots in Wellington.

Artist Tim Gibson created the artwork for both the website and the limited edition packaging for the chocolate found in the city advent calendar.

Mr Gibson’s background in illustration ranges from designing beer cans for The Garage Project to working at Weta Workshops.

“We asked our social media community to suggest artists who they felt could really capture the essence of Wellington, visually,” Mr Perks says.

Positively Wellington Tourism looks for artists who are able to animate digitally, as the site involves moving aspects as well as static images.

“Wellington has a number of highly talented artists working in a huge range of styles, so we certainly weren’t short of suggestions. Tim Gibson’s name did come up a lot, and we’re delighted to have worked with him,” he says.



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