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Auckland Diwali Festival this weekend

16 October 2018

Come and celebrate in Aotea Square and Queen Street
More than 45 hours of live entertainment over three stages and 70 street stalls bring the sights, sounds, colours and flavours of traditional and contemporary India to Aotea Square and Queen Street this weekend for the 17th Auckland Diwali Festival.

The festival, which runs from midday to 9pm on Saturday, 20 and Sunday, 21 October, is Auckland’s largest celebration of contemporary and traditional Indian culture and is New Zealand’s largest vegetarian festival.

About 55,000 people attended the festival in 2017, sampling the diverse programme of entertainment, food, crafts, activities, competitions, fashion and the fireworks finale.

Festival producer Leilana Meredith invites everyone in Auckland for the long weekend to head to the festival.

“Auckland Diwali Festival is always an unforgettable experience. It has a wonderful atmosphere, one of excitement and celebration, and whether you’re a regular or a first-timer we invite you to join us and join in.

“We have hundreds of performers presenting music and dance in styles and traditions from all over India. We have Auckland’s top professional classical musicians to our foremost Indian DJs, from the youngest students of Auckland’s many Indian dance schools to top local and international professional performers, cultural groups from organisations like the NZ Police, Auckland University and ASB, and even the winner of TV3’s Great NZ Dance Masala.”

“That’s just the entertainment – we have people who return every year for their favourite Diwali treats from our food stalls and who time their festival visits around lunch and dinner.”

For kids, there are a host of activities, games and amusement rides, as well as the ever-popular rangoli workshops, creating traditional patterns from coloured sand.

Rangoli patterns will be colouring Auckland in the lead-up to the festival. Auckland Harbour Bridge will be lit by Vector Lights with the colours and patterns of the folk art-form, from Thursday, 18 October to Sunday, 21 October. The lights will operate from 7pm until midnight each evening. Viewing points and links to the synced audio stream are available at vector.co.nz/lights.

On Friday, 19 October, workers, shoppers and visitors to the city centre can get a taste of the festival with the Chalk It Up rangoli-drawing competition in Freyberg Place and free, all ages Diwali-themed activities in Ellen Melville Centre.

Inside Ellen Melville Centre, visitors can have a go at DIY henna or mehndi, learn how to wrap or drape a sari, creating rangoli patterns to take home and play interactive digital Hindi language games. There will also be snacks to sample – sweet mithai treats and savoury namkeen nibbles.

Tips:
• Food stalls get busiest from 6.30pm onwards – if you prefer to avoid the queues, come for lunch and find a spot on the grass to eat, while you watch the performances.
• Thousands of people attend each year, so agree on a meeting place in case you get separated.
• This is Auckland – the weather is changeable – bring sunscreen, a hat, and a raincoat.
• Leave behind cigarettes, pipes, vapes, alcohol – the Auckland Diwali Festival is smoke- and alcohol-free, and intoxicated festival-goers will be asked to leave.
• Avoid parking hassles and catch public transport to the Auckland Diwali Festival - Aotea Square is in walking distance from the Britomart Transport Centre and the ferry terminals.
• Auckland Transport have extra bike racks at Aotea Square for people cycling to the festival.
For more information:
• For more information about Auckland Diwali Festival, go to https://aucklandnz.com/diwali
• To plan your travel to Auckland Diwali Festival, go to https://at.govt.nz/bus-train-ferry/events/auckland-diwali-festival/
• To check out temporary bus diversions and bus stop closures in place due to the festival, see https://at.govt.nz/bus-train-ferry/service-announcements/bus-diversions-stop-closures-due-to-diwali-festival/
• For more information about region-wide travel over Labour Weekend, see https://at.govt.nz/bus-train-ferry/events/labour-weekend-2018/

ends

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