Friday 6th October 2023
Le Premier Soir du Festival!
Our Opening Night! The party starts with a Powhiri on the Festival Rotunda. Then the market food vendors and festival bars will open, and the night market begins. Our brand-new Café Monet will be serving delicious French Gin Cocktails and very French Food.
Dance your chausettes off with fantastic local band Crater Horns playing 5.30 to 8.30, or at our Funky Silent Disco in the Festival Bar; facing out to the sound stage and the market.
Opening Night may finish at 9pm, but Akaroa bars and restaurants are offering specials for further fun into the night.
Saturday 7th October 2023
LandingsDay two of the festival starts with our fantastic historic re-enactment celebrating all people who came to Akaroa to start new lives in our beautiful Horomaka. We tell their stories, celebrate their arrivals and share their heritage.
Akaroa Community Arts Council produces what has truly become a firm favourite of French Festival. Our good friend Michael Hurst plus the Wellington Sea Shanty Society and World Famous Mulletman will lead our cast of brave locals telling the histories of our ancestors.
Join us bright and early to hear their stories. Bring a beach chair, a warm coat, a sense of humour and a hottie!
The people of Onuku Runanga and a brass band will lead the Comte de Paris descendants and our performers from the beach in this good old-fashioned parade.
Call out to locals and descendant families! Make a family banner! Dress up and march! Everyone is welcome to join in – bicycles! Pets! There will be prizes for the best dressed marchers!
The Parade will march to the Festival Rotunda, where Christchurch’s own Mulletman will introduce our invited special guests to welcome us all to the Festival. The flags of the French, German, English and Mana Whenua are raised by local young descendants – the next generation who have come to call Horomaka home.
The Heritage Marquee
Kid-Friendly variety acts are on the Heritage Marquee stages all day!
Everything from a French folk duo to a fashion parade from the colourful Akaroa label Mr Peacock– not to mention the World-Famous Cock Crowing Competition!
Heritage, arts and culture stalls are buzzing around the perimeter.
*Take a guided walk through our geographical history with Dr Sam Hampton
*Akaroa Area School will screen their student Tūrangawaewae films
*Chat in French with Alliance Francaise
*Explore the family descendant and history stalls with the Comte de Paris descendant society
*Discover the art of Victorian photography
*Have a go at a life drawing experience with Akaroa Community Arts Council
The French Market – Le Marché Français
More stalls than ever! Featuring local artisan food and wine, free family fun games to entertain, and live music on The Festival Rotunda all day.
Le Cafe Monet
Definitely check out our fantastique, brand new French Cafe – water lilies and gingham tablecloths.
Here is where our visitors will get their gastronomique French fix from our specialist French food vendors Friday night, Saturday and Sunday. Bubbles, L’Escargot, baguettes, oysters, pastries, smelly cheeses; crepes anyone?
Doors open for our gold star event! Stellar musical variety acts mixed with burlesque , Le Can Can and comedy. Do not miss this!
Be sure to book early – this has sold out in past festivals and for good reason. This year, our Headline act is the fantastic Lady Killers.
Our very own Mulletman as MC will guide us through another fantastic star-studded evening – Le Cabaret brings for your delight and entertainment – dance, comedy and music with –
*The Wellington Sea Shanty Society
*Gypsy Jazz with Fiona Pears and Connor Hartley-Hall
*Burlesque with Bonita Danger Doll
Plus much, much more – there are prizes to be won; Dress to Impress!! Fun Auctions!!
Hijinks and hilarity guaranteed.
Delicious local supper options will be available for purchase from the Festival Bar.
Sunday 8th October 2023
Le Bubbly Breakfast in Cafe Monet
The perfect Sunday morning solutions to the night before – Cafe Monet is open again and we’re there for you. French bubbles, bacon and hot croissants! Served all day alongside other specialised French food options.
The Festival Market
By popular demand! Our visitors wanted more, so here it is – a second day of our fantastique market.
Live music will again play on the Festival Rotunda. Let’s showcase our young people and our local community musicians who will play all day.
Family fun, old fashioned kid’s games on the rec ground – hilarity plus at the:
*Sack racing, egg and spoon and three-legged races
*Kids French Waiters race.
Antiques and Collectables Vintage Fair – La Brocante
The star of the new Sunday programme is our French inspired, La Brocante! Loads of vintage stalls to tempt and delight! Come hunting! Our many vendors will have a vast array of stunning vintage treasures on offer!
Fairground games will line the perimeter – try out the coconut shy, throwing hoops over donkeys and balls through clowns! Toffee apples, candy floss – all the good old-fashioned stuff!
French Fancy Pooch Parade!
Fasten a beret and striped shirt to your Huntaway and bring him to the Festival Rotunda for a fun parade! Spot prizes to be won and a good laugh with our furry friends.
More details to come…
Le Cirque du Croissant!
Le Cirque du Croissant will astound and thrill in The Big Top – $10 per single ticket and $35 for up to 4-person family pass. Always a hit – come and juggle croissants with Le Cirque!