Akaroa French Festival – A biennial festival celebrating the unique culture and heritage of New Zealand’s sole French settlement and the boutique harbourside town of Akaroa. The fun and festivities are generally held over a weekend in October.
Akaroa has plenty to celebrate:
Starting Friday night, there is the official opening at the Rec Grounds, welcoming everyone to our celebration. Then Revellers dance to local live bands and have a taste plenty of both French and Kiwiana food and wine from surrounding vendors. Disco dancing, circus performers and outdoor movie screening keep everyone entertained until late evening.
Saturday morning starts early with The Landings!, This is a historical re-enactment of the arrival of French and German passengers from the Comte de Paris in 1840 who came to Akaroa to start new lives. After the show, The Canterbury Brass Band lead the performers and audience members down Rue Lavaud in a Parade to the Rec Grounds and Heritage Marquee. March alongside vintage cars, fire brigade and penny farthings, more acrobats, and clowns. Once there, heritage, arts and culture stalls are buzzing with everything from a local fashion show to Victorian photography. Live music will keep you entertained while you sample food and wine or try your luck in some competitions – perhaps a bit of cock crowing or the waiter’s race. For the children, there are traditional French games.
Saturday evening, the Marquee is abuzz with Le Cabaret providing stellar variety acts. Expect Can Can dancers mixed with burlesque and comedy finishing off with great music to dance the night away. This is an adults only show due to its rather racy nature.
Sunday morning is another fun day, plenty to see at Le Broccante, a French inspired antiques and collectables fair plus car boot sale. The festival is rounded off by the innovative Cirotica Circus Company showcasing outstanding Circus Art and entertainment. These shows are geared towards the kids, but adults love them too.