Fireworks traditionally light up Queenstown Bay for the opening night of the Queenstown Winter Festival, which will start next year on June 20. Photo supplied.
The party which pumps an estimated $57 million into the
Wakatipu economy every winter is expected to deliver a
programme packed with old favourites and new surprises for
its 40th birthday in 2014.
Organisers of the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival
have announced the event will return on June 20 to 29 next
year, ushering in the new snow sports season.
More than 45,000 revellers are expected to cram the streets
of Queenstown for the nine-day slate of free and ticketed
live music, fireworks, glamorous balls, novelty races,
comedy, charity events and family fun.
Lisa Buckingham returns for her second stint as Winter
Festival manager while key sponsor American Express is back
on board for the 25th year.
Ms Buckingham said she already had plans for next year's 40th
birthday party well under way.
''There'll be some new events but we're also focusing on
bringing back the 'best of the best' from the past 39
The success of the festival has snowballed over the years,
earning it a solid national and international reputation.
It has been ranked among the world's top 10 ''must-do''
festivals by the Australian website Yahoo! Travel.
Destination Queenstown owns the festival and chief executive
Graham Budd said anticipation was already building for next
''The festival will mark a special milestone for our
community - it's grown from a few locals who thought town was
a bit quiet and the arrival of winter was a great excuse for
a party to becoming the southern hemisphere's premier
celebration of all things winter,'' Mr Budd said.
''It's our way of declaring Queenstown open for the winter
season and celebrating it with 10 days of pure, unadulterated