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Sealord Summer Festival

Sealord Summer Festival

Nelson’s Sealord Summer Festival programme begins this weekend - promising a wide range of events for locals and visitors, based on some traditional favourites.

The festival starts on Saturday 15 December, with the Canterbury Community Trust Lantern Spectacular. Nelson City Council Festival Director Annabel Norman says it’s a real adventure for the small folk.

“Setting off at dusk with a night time return sets the mood for a bit of magic,” she says. “This is a big family event with wacky art performances along the way, plus crazy installations in the trees and live music at the top of the hill. It’s a nice way to involve everyone and to launch in to the Summer Festival.”

This year’s Summer Movies Al Fresco feature classics as the original Dr Frankenstein, starring Boris Karloff, Shirley Temple in The Little Princess, marine encounters in 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, and a young and very good looking Elvis Presley making his film debut in Love Me Tender.

“The Amplified Picnics before many of the movies are back this year, ” Ms Norman said. “ We work with the Tasman District Council on these events to bring them to the regions and the city. Families can come along early with a picnic, listen to the music, have a bit of a boogie and some fun with hula hoop, jump rope and big ball volleyball until it gets dark enough to show the movie.”

At the end of January international performers hit town for the Kaimira Ventures Buskers & Street Theatre Series. Book early is the word for the somewhat rude and very popular ‘Buskers Go Bad’ cabaret at the Boathouse and there are the family friendly nights with the Buskers On Stage at the Church Steps.

The Collingwood Street Fresh Choice Trolley Derby will be held on March 8 to avoid school holidays and anniversary weekend. Families have plenty of time to work on their creations, with the design guide, rules and registration information on the website now.

Other festival highlights include the Nelson Mail Teddy Bears’ Picnic in Stoke’s Isel Park, on Sunday 13 January, and throughout the summer there will be Street Beat lunchtime and Saturday morning entertainment in the city, mainly from local performers and from some of the musicians here for the Woollaston Jazzfest.

The finale this year is Sealord Opera in the Park with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Friends at Trafalgar Park on Saturday February 16, and featuring Simon O’Neill, Jonathan Lemalu, Helen Medlyn and the Vector Wellington Orchestra conducted by Marc Taddei. Tickets are already on sale to this event and there is more information about it at

Summer in Nelson, the programme booklet, has a new look with photos of past festival events, and listings for all major summer events in the Nelson and Tasman regions. The Nelson City Council produces the Sealord Summer Festival as a celebration for locals and visitors in Nelson over summer. More information at


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