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  • Sam Davis

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    Tropical twist to Christmas in Cairns

    Cairns Regional Council has revamped its Christmas program for 2016.

    Carols by Candlelight at the lagoon, Santa’s Grotto in the CBD and stilt-walking elves on Shields Street are some of the new features of an expanded Christmas program for Cairns.

    This Wednesday Carols in the City will bring Christmas to the the Shields Street Heart, with jingles and festivities creating a festive backdrop for Christmas shoppers.

    “This year, we’re doing things a little bit differently,” Mayor Bob Manning says.

    “We’ve been investing heavily in the city centre, establishing it as the true heart of the city.

    “With that in mind, we’re taking the celebrations up Shields Street to create a fun family atmosphere right in the city centre.”

    Entertainment will start at 5.30pm in Shields Street and continue through to 8pm.

    Children can get their photo taken with Santa at his Lake Street grotto, located at the entrance to the Oceana Walk arcade.

    “There will be face-painting, carollers and Mrs Claus with her ukulele,” Cr Manning says.

    “Plus the new gobo lighting in Shields Street will carry a Christmas theme after dark.

    “Just before 7pm, we encourage everyone to make their way down to the lagoon, where the Christmas Tree lights will be switched on.”

    The three age winners of the Christmas e-card competition will be given the honour of flicking the switch on the 8000 LED lights.

    Carols in the City will continue on the following two Wednesday evenings, with the addition of Cairns Brass playing at the Lake and Shields Street intersection.

    “If you haven’t been to Shields Street lately, the next three Wednesday nights are an ideal opportunity to check out the improvements that are happening, to support local businesses and to discover what a great part of the city it really is,” Cr Manning says.

    On Sunday 11 December, Carols by Candlelight is taking a decidedly tropical twist – right down to Santa Claus’ arrival.

    While the Carols’ main event will be at its traditional home of Fogarty Park, an overflow area will be set up on the Cairns Esplanade, where the entire showcase will be live-streamed to a big screen by the lagoon.

    “Carols by Candlelight is getting bigger every year and we wanted to make sure no one would miss out,” Cr Manning says.

    “For the first time, you’ll be able to cool off in the lagoon while still being part of the Carols. It’s all part of putting a truly Cairns spin on Christmas.”


    Santa’s Grotto – Wednesdays 30 November, 7 & 14 December, 5.30pm-8pm

    A Christmas oasis in the heart of the city centre, Santa’s Grotto will be open to the public as part of Carols in the City. Located at the Oceana Walk Arcade in Lake Street, the space has been designed by local artist Hayley Gillespie. BYO camera for a photo with Santa – it’s free but a gold coin donation to the Mayor’s Christmas Appeal is appreciated.

    Carols in the City – Wednesdays 30 November, 7 & 14 December 5.30pm-8pm

    Featuring roving carollers, stilt-walking elves, a ukulele-playing Mrs Claus, face painting and, of course Santa. Shields Street is the place to be on Wednesday nights and the Heart of the city comes to life. Get all your Christmas shopping sorted with retailers open until 8pm

    Lighting of Cairns Esplanade Christmas Tree – Wednesday 30 November, 7pm

    The 8000 LED lights adorning the 10m tall tree will be switched on by the winners of the children’s Christmas e-card competition at 7pm. This year, the tree features decorations hand-painted by artist Hayley Gillespie and participants in her children’s art workshops.

    Carols by Candlelight – Sunday 11 December, 6.30pm-8.30pm

    One of Cairns’ biggest annual events, Carols by Candlelight will once again take over Fogarty Park with music and festive fun. But in recognition of the event’s growing popularity, a big screen will be set up at the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon to create a second carols site. Enjoy a swim as you sing along for a truly tropical carols experience. Pre-show entertainment will kick off at 5.45pm, with Carols by Candlelight starting at 6.30pm. A full program of local performers will lead the audience through a two-hour Christmas showcase, with plenty of opportunities to sing along. The event is the major fundraiser for the Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Appeal, so remember to bring some spare change or purchase a candle, head bopper or other glow products. A fireworks finale will round out the event at 8.30pm.

    Pantomime in the Parklands – Saturday 17 December,

    A Cairns Christmas Carol puts a tropical twist on a classic tale. Ebenezer Scrooge hates Christmas and thinks it is a ridiculous occasion, especially when it’s stinking hot! One Christmas Eve in balmy FNQ, he is visited by three ghosts who help him see the error of his ways. Munro Martin Parklands will host this family event. Tickets available now from ticketLink.