Christmas extravaganza in Auckland

Auckland is getting ready for the biggest and happiest outdoor party of the year, the 12th annual Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park to be held on Saturday 10 December at the Auckland Domain.

MC’s Jeremy Corbett, Jeanette Thomas and Petra Bagust will head a stellar cast of stars from the stage, screen and sports field, as well as new talent discovered in a nationwide search held earlier this year.

Among the many highlights, the Auckland audience can look forward to the ‘Godfather’ of Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park, Frankie Stevens, darling diva and New Zealand Idol judge Jackie Clark, Nathan King from Zed, gold-selling Kiwi songstress Amber Claire and Siobhan Marshall and Carolyn Taylor from Outrageous Fortune; and the successful Auckland Hip Hop group, Fast Crew, will hype the crowds with two of their smash hit singles.

An Aucklander now living in Los Angles, Greg Johnson, is one of New Zealand’s most established and respected artist. He will be performing his hits ‘Save yourself’ and ‘Don’t be the one’ from his album ‘Her Comes the Caviar’.

Shane Cortese will be rocking with guitarist Chet O’Connell, before slipping on his dancing shoes for a number with Dancing with the Stars partner Nerida Lister. Newsreader and weatherman join forces when TV3’s Sarah Bradley and Russell Dixon team up for their jazz rendition of ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’.

Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park is traditionally a platform for supporting up-and-coming talent, and this year is no exception. Eleven-year-old singer-songwriter Ben Kara from Waiheke Island will hit the stage with The Beatles song ’Come Together’, and six-year-old tapdancer Quinn Watkins from Ashburton will be the youngest performer ever at Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park, partnered by fellow ‘tapper’ Joel Hewlett.

While New Zealanders are used to singing about sleighs and snowmen in the hottest months of the year, this year’s event will feature a touch of the real Northern Christmas when it starts to ‘snow’ on stage to the sound of the Bootyettes singing ‘Let it Snow’; and of course one the biggest stars of the night will be Santa himself, Russell Harrison, ably assisted by ‘Mrs Claus’ Beatrice Faumuina.

Artistic Producer Kate Ward Smythe is responsible for assembling this wealth of talent and working alongside Musical Director Penny Dodd who has created a dazzling musical extravanganza “with something in it for everyone!” Event Manager John Searle, who together with Kate and Penny has been with the show from the very beginning is also enthusiastic about this year’s lineup and adds, “It’s a magical show that just gets bigger and better each year!”

Founding sponsor of the event, Coca-Cola has invested millions of dollars over the years, bringing the spectacle to over 4.5 million New Zealanders. According to Coca-Cola Marketing Services Manager, Annette Chillingworth, “It’s one way Coca-Cola can make a contribution to the local community, while saying ‘Merry Christmas’ to our consumers with a free, magical Christmas experience”.

The concert has proven a powerful tool for raising money for a variety of charities. For the fifth year running, proceeds from Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park will benefit Youthline so concert goers are encouraged to bring a gold coin for a donation.

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