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Glow In The Park Shines Bright In Ashburton As Attendance Doubles

Like moths to a flame, twice the number of people were attracted to the Glow in the Park in the Ashburton Domain this year.

An estimated 40,000 people attended the third running of the Ashburton District Council’s light festival.

It was the first time the event was held in the Ashburton Domain, over King's Birthday weekend, shattering last year’s attendance of 17,000.

Ashburton District Council compliance and development group manager Jane Donaldson said that Saturday night alone had an estimated 16,000 visitors.

“We were absolutely thrilled with the response, and the comments we've heard so far from attendees have been generally very positive.

“While we haven't yet had a chance to take a close look at the data, the feedback we've heard so far suggests that the event attracted more visitors from outside the district this year, which we think is really positive for Mid Canterbury.”

The event had people using counters at different points along the lighting route which gave us a good baseline but not a precise attendance figure.

The shift from the Tinwald Domain to the Ashburton Domain avoided the congestion and parking issues of previous years, she said.

“The new central location worked well and greatly improved accessibility to the event.

“We worked closely with Fulton Hogan who supported the event by providing traffic management services and we didn't observe any significant congestion or road safety issues.”

The popularity of the event had some commenting on social media about the crowds being shoulder-to-shoulder and wondering why the light displays weren’t spread out further around the domain.

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“The huge turnout over the weekend did lead to congestion along the display route at times, and while most people were patient and not too bothered, we'll be looking at options for extending the display over a larger area, or having an option of short and long walking loops in the future.”

Several factors were considered when designing the layout including suitable surfaces for strollers and wheelchairs, safety around water and uneven ground, and ensuring the route is short enough to allow those with mobility issues to enjoy the display, Donaldson said.

The council is conducting a post-event survey for attendees to provide feedback.

“Once we've captured and considered that feedback, we'll review the event with our partners before taking a report back to the council, who will ultimately decide if and when Glow in the Park returns.”

The free entry event cost around $120,000 to run, with $23,000 provided through the council events budget and the rest from “the generous support of our sponsors”, Donaldson said.

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