Remarkable ballet steals the show

Pointed toes, puffed tutus, red lipstick, hairy legs and a rugby ball.

It wasn't just talent people abandoned their picnic rugs to see when they rushed to the front of the stage to watch a certain men's ballet group close up.

The Remarkable Men's Ballet finally brought their tip-toed walks and twinkling fingers to the stage towards the end of the Shotover Christmas Cracker in Queenstown on Saturday.

Earlier, younger and perhaps more experienced ballet dancers had set the bar high but the men, who had been invited to join this year's cast and had been practising hard, showed no signs of stage fright.

Winners of the wishing tree competition, in which children had written a wish and placed it on one of the dedicated trees at locations such as schools and Santa's grotto in Athol St, were announced on stage.

One of the winning wishes involved nine separate wishes from friends of children whose family in Queenstown had sent their savings to relatives in the Philippines after a typhoon caused massive destruction.

The family received money to help buy a new car.

The talent from hundreds of performers came in many forms, from a seemingly endless supply of singers to dancing Christmas trees and a hip-hop dance crew.

Saturday's show was the largest in the event's seven-year history and the first time it had been held outdoors at the Queenstown Recreation Ground, which had allowed for a fireworks finale.