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Festive celebrations return with Katikati Christmas Festival

Katikati Christmas in the Park

Christmas and summertime are filled with quality time with friends and family, celebrating and enjoying the sunshine. Local Katikati community group, Katch Katikati, are again hosting a series of events to spread the joy of Christmas and bring the community together through three Christmas-focused events.

The annual Katikati Christmas Series initially started to create exciting new event opportunities for the community and encourage local participation. Jacqui Knight, Promotions Manager of Katch Katikati, says the continued motivation that brings the event back each year is seeing the community spirit shine and the joy on people’s faces.

“Everyone loves Christmas, and as fun and free events, we see the local and wider community coming out to attend all parts of the series. The concert is the most popular, as it has been a longstanding annual event for Katikati and is great for families,” says Jacqui.

The series hosts three events between late November and December. The Upcycled Christmas Tree event kicks the series off, where the community is invited to make upcycled Christmas Trees. The trees are displayed at the Arts Junction for the community to view. This event was established five years ago to encourage recycling. The event is now popular to showcase sustainability and creativity from local participants, with preschools, retirement villages, community groups, businesses, and individuals usually taking part.

Christmas in the Park is a free community event incorporating market stalls and a concert, held in partnership with the Katikati Lions Club, which organise the Katikati Christmas Parade, finishing at Christmas in the Park. As a long-standing event, Christmas in the Park sees families and friends attend to enjoy a fun environment for all ages and demographics. Jacqui Knight says, “It is one of those super feel-good Christmas things to do each year.”

Santa’s Grotto is held during the middle of December in partnership with Katikati Floral Art Group, Katikati Theatre, Combined Churches, Western Bay Library and Katch Katikati. Together, these groups turn the Junction Theatre into a magical escape, welcoming visitors into Santa’s Grotto to meet Santa and share their wishes for Christmas.

“It is a pure delight to see the kids when they come through. We even have preschools do organised visits. Along with rest homes bringing in buses, and everyone of all ages likes to visit Santa,” says Jacqui, “It is an amazing experience for everyone who attends and adds that Christmas magic to the town.”

Katch Katikati has focused on working proactively to ensure everyone is able to attend by making the events free. They encourage everyone to attend and as their community becomes more diverse, the event will continue to cater to all ages, ethnicities, cultures, beliefs, and abilities.

The local Tauranga Western Bay Community Event Fund (TWBCEF) has recently approved a grant of $15,000 to support the delivery of the series. TWBCEF is a partnership between Acorn Foundation, BayTrust, TECT, Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council designed to simplify the process and reduce the barriers to applying for community event funding.

Jodie Rickard, Community and Strategic Relationship Manager of Western Bay of Plenty District Council, says Christmas and summer-based events are significant in small towns and important to provide and retain each year.

“The Katikati Christmas Series is an opportunity for the community to come together and enjoy the spirit of Christmas. Katch Katikati, along with their event partners, are succeeding in bringing their town together by promoting all that Katikati has to offer, creating an active, vibrant and creative community for the locals to enjoy living in and for visitors to want to come back to,” says Jodie, “The Katikati Christmas Series is something locals will look forward to and attend each year with their families and friends, often inviting others from further afield to attend and enjoy.”

The dates for the 2023 Katikati Christmas Series are:

  • Upcycled Christmas Tree – Late November to Christmas at The Arts Junction

  • Christmas in the Park – 2nd December 2023 at Moore Park

  • Santa’s Grotto – 15th to 27th December 2023 at The Arts Junction

For more information on the Katikati Christmas Series, head to their website.