Christmas festival on

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Festive fun for the whole family at the Hyundai Mid Canterbury Christmas Festival tomorrow.

The Hyundai Mid Canterbury Christmas Festival is on tomorrow and there is plenty on offer for the whole family.

Father Christmas and his sleigh are making a pre-Christmas visit and will be available for photographs.

There will be free Kiddie Train rides around the cycle valodrome as well as facepainting, airbrush tattoos, balloons and heaps of children’s entertainment, including lovable characters walking around the grounds and novelty cutout boards for people to take photographs in.

Organiser Carol Johns, and her team of Santa’s Little Helpers, are looking forward to the outdoor event after the cancellation of the annual Santa Parade in downtown Ashburton.

It will be on wet or fine.

The festival is on at the Tinwald recreational valodrome area (off Maronan Road), on Saturday from 9am to 3pm.

‘‘We are going for the Christmas Festival theme so Father Christmas will be there in his sleigh with his reindeer so the kids will be able to get in the sleigh and have their photos,’’ Mrs Johns said.

There will be a host of quality market stall vendors selling plenty of Christmas gift options and crafts, as well as food and drink stalls.

Emergency service personnel would also be on site so kids could get up close to a police car, ambulance and fire engines.

Buskers and an electronic organ performer will provide musical interludes, while a four metre tall inflatable Christmas toy soldier will stand watch over all.

It’s a big site, Mrs Johns said, but all the necessary covid precautions, under the Orange traffic light system will be in place.

‘‘I’ll have specific areas for people to eat on the seating and on the grass areas. People will be asked to wear facemasks, and stick to social distancing.’’

Organisers would also ensure groups of 100 were sent in different directions as they came in the gate and hot spots such as Father Christmas visitors and food vendor sites would be monitored.

‘‘I’m just going to make sure they’ve got plenty of room around them.

‘‘I’m just making sure that we can do everything we can to run a safe, responsible, fun event.’’

People able to volunteer and dress up in the many character costumes available and give kids high fives were encouraged to make contact.

‘‘I just want to have it (running) as much as we can so the kids are not missing out this year.’’