Lisa Buckingham, American Express Queenstown Winter Festival Manager said it was a fitting start to the Festival that at its core is a community event that over the past four decades has grown to be a renowned, international event.
“Clear skies and the special occasion brought out an exceptionally large crowd of families and friends to the American Express Opening Night and Fireworks to eat, drink, and dance together,”
For ninety minutes local bands rocked out four decades of music for the crowd before a fireworks spectacular and a blistering set The Exponents.
Over the next 10 days an estimated 45,000 people will be treated to more than 70 events to mark the 40th American Express Queenstown Winter Festival.
Drawing on 40 years of experience, the 2014 American Express Queenstown Winter Festival team has created a calendar packed with more than 70 events and activities with something for everyone across 10 days of winter themed craziness.
For every classic winter event such as the Slopestyle International, there’s quirky take on the norm like Otterbox Mountain Bikes on Snow. While the farm dogs are let loose on the mountain slopes in the DB Export Dog Derby, the Hits 90.4 Drag Race sees local business leaders turned drag queens puncture Earnslaw Park with their stilettos.
Local fans will be screaming on their ice hockey heroes while the once-a-year Crabbies Dodgeball gladiators will be laying everything on the line. Auckland Airport Family Fun Day is especially for the kids, Jaimie and Bec’s Winter Kitchen ‘for the ladies’ and Whiskey Tasting Masterclass for the guys.
American Express is marking an extraordinary 25 years of support for the Festival. American Express’ support of the Queenstown Winter Festival began in February 1990 when it signed a three-year sponsorship agreement with Destination Queenstown, then known as the Queenstown Promotion Board, says Morgan Hunter, Vice President for Brand, Loyalty and Customer Engagement at American Express.
“The festival has certainly grown in scale and international reputation since we began our partnership 25 years ago and we’re proud to have been there to support this. In 2014 we’re excited to build on this momentum, supporting the Queenstown community and creating the fun and exciting atmosphere that the festival is known for,” said Mr. Hunter.
American Express is sponsoring the Opening Party and Fireworks, the Festival Street Parade, the Winter Wonderland Ice Rink, Night Skiing and bringing back the Comedy Debate “Is Forty the new Thirty?” and has provided lights and decorations to dress more than 80 shop windows.
Saturday morning will see the streets of Queenstown lined with local families and visitors to enjoy the annual American Express Festival Street Parade while the Otterbox Mountain Bikes on Snow entices two wheel warriors up on to the snow of Coronet Peak ski field to compete for line honours. Later in the afternoon, the Embrace the Elements DB Export Hot Tub Sessions introduces New Zealand’s first ever hot tub cinema experience.
While some will pull out all the sartorial stops for the SKYCITY Narnia Ball on Saturday evening, ice hockey fans will be layering themselves in warm clothing to cheer on the Southern Stampede against the Dunedin Thunder.
To see the full line up of the programme and individual event details check out the complete American Express Queenstown Winter Festival calendar online or pick up a programme at information outlets throughout the region.