Carols by Candlelight Wodonga move to Birallee

Wodonga Carols organiser Lindsay Hanchett at the new carols venue for this year — the Wodonga Raiders Football ground. Picture: TARA GOONAN

Wodonga Carols organiser Lindsay Hanchett at the new carols venue for this year — the Wodonga Raiders Football ground. Picture: TARA GOONAN

WODONGA’S 39th carols by candlelight will be held at Birallee Park this year, with organisers saying the new venue won’t see them stray from tradition.

Willow Park has hosted the event since 2004, but it is being re-seeded this year forcing organisers to move to the new location better known as Wodonga Raiders Football Ground.

Carols organiser Lindsay Hanchett said despite the venue change, the program and staging would stay the same.

“The reason we have come to Birallee Park even though it is slightly further out of the central business district is because there is plenty of parking and easy access, so there will still be plenty of room for people,” Mr Hanchett said.

The event is organised by Wodonga Brass with support from Wodonga Council and involves 300 volunteers and 150 performers.

Mr Hanchett said they hoped to draw a crowd of up to 7000 people at the new location, which is 3000 shy of their biggest carols in 2009.

“The change to Birallee Park could have an impact on crowd numbers because a lot of people are used to it being held at Willow Park, which is more convenient, so it’s a bit of worry getting the message across.”

While a location has been set for Wodonga, Albury is facing similar issues with works at QEII square.

Albury Council’s event team leader Ros Walls said the council was finalising the venue and expected to make an announcement in coming weeks.

Candles will be sold at the Wodonga carols with all proceeds from the sales going to Albury Wodonga Regional Health.

Vision Australia will also be raising funds by selling Commemorative Carols by Candlelight pins and win pins.

“The pins come with a card, and when you scratch it there will either be an instant win inside or you go into the draw to win $20,000, which is drawn in Melbourne in January,” Mr Hanchett said.

“It should be a great night — all the entertainers are locals who donate their time.

“A barbecue and various food vendors will be available from 6pm onwards so we encourage people to come and have a picnic.”

Auditions will be taking place soon.

Anyone wanting to audition should contact Wodonga Brass on (02) 6024 4458.

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