The festive season… It’s a crazy, silly season, but it can be quite a lot of fun. And whilst I don’t really buy into the ridiculous gift-buying frenzy that it tends to induce, the festivities themselves can be rather entertaining, if you’re in the mood.

The V&A Waterfront is going all out this year, with all kinds of activities and displays to keep you very well occupied between now and the end of January 2011.

Some are specifically Christmas-focused attractions, like a huge Christmas tree, a giant Christmas cracker and various ‘cheerful Christmas bands’ and carolling choirs (details listed below).

More appealing to me, though, are the more general entertainments, like a spin around the temporary ice-rink (housed inside a giant inflatable cube)*, or maybe a turn on the ‘Wheel of Excellence’ (now at Market Square instead of the Waterfront entrance), or enjoying the sounds of local artists at one of the free 5pm concerts running throughout the season.

And though I doubt I’ll get to it myself, also on the cards is the Waterfront’s New Year’s Eve concert (featuring Hot Water and Lindiwe Suttle), followed by a showy fireworks display which I’m certain will be very beautiful indeed.

Here’s the full list:

The Christmassy Stuff

An enormous Christmas tree
It is what it is: a giant Christmas tree (15m tall) with shiny decorations and twinkling lights reaching up towards the sky.

Date: 27 November 2010 – 2 January 2011  (all day) | Venue: V&A Waterfront flag pole terrace | Entry cost: Free

A giant Christmas cracker
Bigger is better?  Not sure about that, but at this rather large cracker you’ll be able to buy a pair of locally-made leather school shoes to donate to a child who’ll need them for the year ahead (it’s in partnership with the Bobs For Good Foundation), and that certainly is a good thing.

Date: Early December – 25 December 2010  |  Venue: V&A Waterfront Market plaza  |  Time: 10:00 – 21:00  |  Entry cost: Free  (shoes cost R100).

Christmas Bands
Some of Cape Town’s top bands come to lend their beautiful music to the V&A Waterfront this festive season.  Some have already done their thing, but there are three bands still to go:

  • Michael D and Chanene – 21 December 2010
  • Tarryn Johnson School of Music – 22 December 2010
  • Young Guilding Stars Sacred String Band – 24 December 2010
Date: 13 – 24 December 2010  |  Venue: V&A Waterfront Amphitheatre  |  Time: 18:00 – 19:00  | Entry cost: Free

Carolling Christmas Choirs
It ain’t Christmas without carols, and unlike the piped mall versions that drive me stir-crazy, choral carols can be exceptionally beautiful to listen to (yes, I was in a choir, once upon a long time ago).  There’s only one evening of carols left:

  • AFM Praise and Worship Band & Choir – 23 December 2010
Date: 16 – 23 December 2010  |  Venue: V&A Waterfront Amphitheatre  |  Time: 19:00 – 20:00  |  Entry cost: Free

The Not So Christmassy Stuff

An ice-rink by the sea
Ice skating at the water’s edge should be quite a novelty (and a good way to stay cool in this crazy summer heat).   It’s housed inside a giant inflatable cube, which I find rather intriguing… a bit like a jumping castle, without the, um, jumping.  I’m guessing it could get pretty packed inside, so probably best to go on a quiet day, if there is such a thing during the holidays!

Date: 10 December 2010 – 16 January 2011  |  Venue: Opposite Mugg & Bean  | Time: 10:00 – 22:00
Entry cost: Day rate (10:00 – 19:00) R50 per hour, Evening rate (19:00 – 22:00) R70 per hour, and R10 for spectators.

The Wheel of Excellence
If you haven’t yet been on this big wheel, you have until the end of February to do so.  The Wheel was moved, bolt by bolt, from its original location at the entrance to the Waterfront, to its new location, right in the heart of the action, on Market Square.  I’m not sure what a ride cost before, but the price is now R80 for adults, R50 for kids.

Date: 4 December 2010 – 28 February 2011 (closed on Mondays)  |  Venue: V&A Waterfront Market square  |
Time: 10:00 – 22:00 (Friday & Saturday until 24:00)
Entry cost: R80 adults, R50 kids (4 – 12 years, kids under 4 years are free)

Free 5pm concerts

Live music performed by a wide variety of headline acts at the V&A Waterfront Amphitheatre.  This year’s lineup includes:

  • Peter Hoven – 26 December 2010
  • Natalie Chapman – 27 December 2010
  • Ashton Gardner – 28 December 2010
  • Summer Shade – 29 December 2010
  • Yolanda Yawa – 30 December 2010
  • Blaqpearl – 1 January 2011
  • Jack and Jill – 2 January 2011
  • Hello Africa ft Verity – 8 January 2011
  • Southpaw – 9 January 2011
  • Reburn – 15 January 2011
  • Harry Curtis – 16 January 2011
  • Kill Disco – 22 January 2011
  • Cecil Peters – 23 January 2011
  • Chasing Friday – 29 January 2011
  • Louise Day – 30 January 2011
Date: 4 December 2010 – 30 January 2011  |  Venue: V&A Waterfront Amphitheatre  |  Time: 17:00 – 18:00
Entry cost: Free

New Year’s Eve concert and fireworks display
Top notch entertainment from local artists Hot Water and Lindiwe Suttle, followed by a must-see fireworks display to welcome 2011 in with a bang (or two).

Date: 31 December 2010  |  Venue: V&A Waterfront Amphitheatre  | Time: 19:00 – 01:00  |  Entry cost: Free

For more information on these and other festive season events on offer at the V&A Waterfront, visit

*the carbon footprint of keeping the ice cold in the heat of summer is something to ponder, of course…

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