A night of giving lives on

Lana Reid giving out free candy canes or glowsticks to the children at last year’s ‘A Night Before Christmas’.

As Bay families arrive at Bethlehem College’s front fields on Saturday, December 17, to watch ‘A Night Before Christmas’ they won’t be the only ones benefitting from the region’s iconic festive event.

‘A Night Before Christmas’ has a tagline: ‘With Community, for Community, by community’. And this will ring true at the Good Neighbour charity’s base in ?? St in Tauranga next year.

It will again receive funds collected at ‘A Night Before Christmas’ – and Good Neighbour’s Campbell Hill says they’ll go towards securing the lease of the organisation’s base, out of which they run a Food Rescue initiative, a firewood programme and much more.

“Last year’s funds were put into a pool to purchase a $90,000 firewood processor to help with our wood operation.”

This sees local families spend two hours helping to process firewood in return for receiving a 2m2 load. “While it doesn’t sound that exciting securing the lease, it does mean we have a base, a home and a hub to operate from.

“And it’s good to consolidate – we’ve grown so fast – so we can rollout new initiatives next year from our base.”

Meanwhile, ‘A night Before Christmas’ organisers are acknowledging the other side of their tagline. They say they couldn’t keep growing event without immense community support and enthusiasm.

“The fact Bethlehem College has agreed to host such a large event shows the level of support for this event and their generosity will enable to celebrate together,” says Michaela Vernall, who is on the organising team.

And many company and business sponsors also make the magical night happen. “This year, our key sponsors are TECT, BayTrust, Pak‘n’Save Papamoa, Above & Beyond Education and Care Centres, and Creative Communities Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty.

“We are very grateful for ongoing support from them and other community-minded businesses,” says Michaela.

“Our performers and artists also contribute by sharing their talents with us – having to put in hours of practice to be ready for this large-scale production.”

As a result the event has become a tradition for thousands – a regular date to gather with friends and family to celebrate in Bethlehem – a name synonymous with Christmas. 

‘A Night Before Christmas’ is a free family event on Saturday, December 17 at new venue Bethlehem College’s front fields. Gates open 5pm. Bring a picnic or buy food – cash-only –from vendors on-site. Alcohol is not permitted.

The main show starts 6.45pm and ends with a spectacular fireworks display. Visit: www.anightbeforechristmas.co.nz