Reach for stars as light show brightens Nelson


The 30-meter space man is among the attractions at the Illuminate Light and Sound Experience event at Nelson's Founders Heritage Park.

supplied

The 30-meter space man is among the attractions at the Illuminate Light and Sound Experience event at Nelson’s Founders Heritage Park.

A giant space man, glowing mushrooms and a tunnel of fairy lights are part of a new show illuminating Nelson.

Illuminate Light and Sound Experience opened at Founders Heritage Park on Thursday. It is in Nelson for the first time after its inaugural display at Christchurch’s Ferrrymead Heritage Park last year.

The event’s managing director, Philip Anderson, said after showing it in Christchurch, Event Hire creators sought to take it to other parts of New Zealand, and Nelson fitted the bill.

Heritage parks were the perfect spots with the infrastructure to host thousands of visitors while also being able to accommodate hundreds of thousands of lights, he said.

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Last year in Christchurch the show was a drive-through experience to restrict the spread of Covid, with more than 3000 vehicles going through the popular fairy light tunnel. Sounds could be picked up on a radio station created for the event.

The 30-meter fairy light tunnel was a big attraction in Christchurch last year when it was a drive-through experience because of Covid.  But in Nelson this year visitors can walk through the display.

supplied/Nelson Mail

The 30-meter fairy light tunnel was a big attraction in Christchurch last year when it was a drive-through experience because of Covid. But in Nelson this year visitors can walk through the display.

This year people could walk through the 30-meter fairy light tunnel. There were more than 100,000 fairy lights across the park’s displays.

Anderson said some other popular attractions included the stepping pads that changed color when walked on, and the outer space installation. A 10-meter illuminated spaceman stands amid the planets, where a stroll-through can “feel like you’re among the Milky Way,” Anderson said.

Illuminate managing director Philip Anderson says Nelson's Founders Heritage Park fitted the bill as the second venue to host the light show after Christchurch last year.

supplied/Nelson Mail

Illuminate managing director Philip Anderson says Nelson’s Founders Heritage Park fitted the bill as the second venue to host the light show after Christchurch last year.

He hoped the light show could become an annual event, with other cities included.

Anderson said Event Hire was inspired to create the show after supporting smaller light shows and realizing “everyone loves lights”.

Illuminate Light and Sound Experience is on at Founders Heritage Park between July 28 to July 31 and August 4 to August 7. Tickets are $10 per person online or $12 on the door, and food carts are on site.

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