Planning a festival atmosphere

Lisa Buckingham.
Lisa Buckingham.
A hot tub and al fresco bars will grace downtown Queenstown for this year's 40th Winter Festival.

The features are designed to create a welcoming hub throughout the 10-day carnival.

Free hot tub sessions will be held daily on Earnslaw Park from the second day of the festival, June 21, at 2pm and 6pm, with movie screenings and other outdoor entertainment.

A pop-up bar will open on Earnslaw Park each day from June 21 from 4.30-7.30pm.

There will also be pop-up bars on The Deck, above Wilkinsons Pharmacy, and on Marine Pde reserve.

Festival manager Lisa Buckingham said it was all designed to bring more atmosphere to downtown throughout the 10 days.

''Often when some of the ticketed events were going on inside venues, there wasn't so much happening around the rest of the place, so we're really hoping that some of the new additions will help to do that.''

Ms Buckingham said the pop-up bars would be open for limited hours and would not compete with established bars.

Adding to the effect will be the Winter Wonderland Ice Rink above Horne Creek on the Village Green.

In a new event, Arrowtown MasterChef New Zealand finalists Jaimie Stodler and Bec Stanley will hold a ''Winter Kitchen'' festival cooking masterclass in the Queenstown Memorial Centre, on June 25. Pre-sale tickets to seven festival events can now be bought by American Express card-holders - the ball, two comedy nights, Winter Kitchen, Thriller in the Chiller, a whisky tasting and a panel discussion entitled ''Where Will the Snow Be?''

Tickets for the general public go on sale on May 5.