Town lights up for midwinter dinner

Santa at the Middlemarch Festival of Lights last year. Photo supplied.
Santa at the Middlemarch Festival of Lights last year. Photo supplied.

Christmas lights will bring a warm mid-winter glow to Middlemarch this month.

The annual Middlemarch Festival of Lights is on June 28.

The event was the largest fundraiser for the Middlemarch Hall Redevelopment Committee each year, committee chairwoman Lorna Williams said.

This year, festival-goers would ride on the Taieri Gorge Railway to Middlemarch, where they would be greeted by homes, businesses, a covered wagon, a Christmas tree and a large reindeer covered in Christmas lights, and a midwinter Christmas dinner at the Strath Taieri Community Centre, she said.

It was the fifth time the event would be held and it was hoped 150 people would make the trip to Middlemarch this year.

''It's a great [event for] community spirit,'' she said.

''Everyone in the community now knows we are holding it and they come to us and say they can help.

''It's great.''

About 30 volunteers were involved in organising the event and the funds raised would go towards hiring scaffolding to paint the interior of the hall, she said.

The committee recently placed second in the Heritage and Environment category of the TrustPower Community Awards.

It was something the committee was proud of, she said.

''It's a great achievement and a great recognition of the community and everyone that helps with us,'' she said.

''It's been a team effort [redeveloping the hall] and it hasn't been done by one person.

''It was very rewarding receiving that award.''

• The Taieri Gorge Railway train leaves from the Dunedin Railway Station at 3.30pm on June 28 for the Middlemarch Festival of Lights. Tickets cost $99 and are available from the Taieri Gorge Railway.

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