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More opportunities to celebrate this festive season

A new, free, family-friendly Christmas lights event at the Maroochy Regional Bushland Botanic Garden will be a highlight of this year’s festive season calendar and one of several new opportunities for our community to celebrate, following council’s endorsement of a new Festive Season program.

The new event will light up the gardens over several nights leading up to Christmas, creating a festive wonderland complete with lighting installations, carollers and roving performers.

Council has added $75,000 to the region’s Festive Season program, taking it to just over $900,000 annually.

The Festive Season program includes Christmas, New Year’s and Australia Day events and a new multi-year community grants program to enable community groups to identify, plan and lead events in their own neighbourhoods.

In addition to events and community grants, residents will see street banners displayed in more areas across the region and more decorations, providing a greater festive and holiday feel to the Sunshine Coast.

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said festive season celebrations are important to, and valued by, our residents and the opportunity has been taken to ensure that going forward, Council’s Festive Season program reflects the needs and expectations of our changing community.

“As our community continues to grow, we need to review our programs and services to ensure council is providing support where it’s needed most,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“This includes our Festive Season activities. Over the past 12 months, we did this by benchmarking against similar programs across 60 Australian councils, seeking specialist advice and asking our residents for their ideas.

“During that engagement process, we heard that there is a strong desire from the community to organise and attend festive season events and that community events should continue to be supported by council into the future.

“Likewise, it was also clear that the demand is for Christmas carols and celebrations to be localised events – small, relaxed and for families.

“However, our community expects that New Year’s Eve events are larger and more impactful than Christmas events, while taking into consideration the cost of attending, COVID-Safe measures and travel distance to attend the event.

“The new program reflects this feedback while also considering costs and financial impacts.

“We believe the updated program will offer new opportunities to celebrate the season and provide additional funding for community event organisers wanting to bring their fresh ideas to life.”

New Year’s Eve 2021 will feature 8.30pm fireworks at Caloundra, Mooloolaba and Coolum (managed by council in consultation with emergency services and community event organisers and dependent on COVID Safe planning requirements).

Council will also deliver a 2021 NYE Mooloolaba event in partnership with emergency services, featuring roving entertainment and midnight fireworks, and focussing on a family-friendly and safe night out.

Council will continue to deliver the annual Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony and the Sunshine Coast Australia Day Awards program. The community will be invited to access council funding via the Community Grants Program to deliver other Australia Day events.

More information about the new community grants program will available via council’s website in the coming months.

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