There will be a big, shining star at this year’s Raglan Christmas in the Park.
But the event’s organisers hope that it will not lead the masses over the deviation to attend the Christmas celebration put on every second year for the Raglan community.
Surfside Church has announced that singer, actor and TV personality Stan Walker will perform at the free community event, which will also include music by Hamilton soul funk band Sir Brown and local talent Reiki Ruawai.
Walker won Australian Idol in 2009 and has since had triple platinum album success and won five New Zealand Music Awards. His hit singles include Black Box, Choose You and Unbroken.
He has acted in movies Mt Zion and the recently released Born to Dance, and has twice been a judge in The X Factor NZ.
Surfside Church pastor Roger Peart said the congregation was pretty excited about hosting Walker at Christmas in the Park, but the church wanted to stress that the event was not a big Stan Walker concert for people from far and wide.
Usually, Christmas in the Park attracts about 1000 people and Rodger said they could probably handle about 2000 at this year’s event.
“It will be a bigger job this year: more security, more parking.
“But, it’s not just about Stan – it’s a positive Christmas celebration for Raglan people.”
Walker would only be on stage for some of the time, he said, and the rest of the evening would include performances by school groups and the local community, carnival rides, face painting, Christmas carols and a visit by Santa.
“Most of the groups performing won’t be professional.”
Rodger said the church had wanted to do something a bit special for the community this year, and someone came up with the idea of getting Walker, who grew up in New Zealand but now lives in Sydney, to sing. While Kimbra has sung at Raglan Christmas in the Park before, that was before she became famous.
Rodger said the costs to get Walker came in and they “coughed and spluttered” but decided to go ahead with it any way.
The cost of holding Christmas in the Park is met by fundraising, sponsorships and grants by Waikato District Council and various trusts, and this year the event is likely to cost twice as much as it usually does.
More sponsorship is still being sought, and anyone able to contribute is asked to get in touch with Surfside Church.
Raglan residents should bring a picnic and rug to join in the Christmas celebration at Kopua Domain on Sunday, December 6, from 5pm till dark. In case of wet weather the event will be held the following evening.
More information will be posted on the Facebook page Raglan Christmas in the Park.