Not even an early downpour could dampen the Christmas spirit at Wodonga’s 43rd annual Carols by Candlelight.
Rain broke as the crowd gathered for the pre-entertainment, with carollers huddled underneath bright umbrellas, or picnic blankets, until the sky cleared and the night of song begun.
Organiser Jacob Mildren said last week’s heavy rain had forced the Carols by Candlelight committee to rethink and adapt.
“We had to make some changes to ensure the night could go ahead,” he said.
“We couldn’t use the car park at the back because it was just too muddy and we’ve turned the stage around – on Friday when we were setting up, it was simply too wet where it was. So we flipped it around and in doing so actually created more space, which is really lucky because we have an absolute bumper crowd.”
Mr Mildren said the committee would be seeking feedback to determine whether the new layout is kept.
He said the bumper crowd numbers and enthusiasm, even through rainy patches, were a testament to the spirit that keeps the event going every year.
“It’s a bit of a tradition, Christmas in Wodonga wouldn’t be the same without Carols by Candlelight,” he said.
For new parents Desiree Gohe and Jason White, of Wangaratta, this Christmas was all about creating new traditions and memories with their 10-month-old Eva White.
“She’s already got a few presents,” said Mr White. “We’re trying to keep it contained but think we might have a hard time doing that.”
Wodonga grandmother Chris Brown said containing gift giving was not really an option with seven excited grandchildren.
“They’re getting very excited now there’s presents under the tree,” she said, with one eye watching her granddaughters play.
Coming to the carols, Ms Brown said, was a big part of the build-up to Christmas.
This year, money raised through the sale of candles goes to fund an Albury Wodonga Health program where palliative care patients’ memories will be preserved in a memoir.
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