Families have rung in 2022 with cautious optimism after a roller-coaster year of the pandemic that was much like the first.
At the Wodonga Raiders Football and Netball Club, Coca Cola sales representative Scott Cardwell and his wife Bec reflected on a tumultuous year.
"I've been lucky and worked the whole way through," he said.
"Bec's a nurse, so she didn't have time off either."
Mrs Cardwell works on the Albury Base Hospital surgical ward and had stints working on the COVID ward during the Border's outbreak.
"It does get scary, because you don't want to bring it home to your kids," he said.
"So to see them have fun makes it all worthwhile.
"It's nice to still do family things, it makes you enjoy the moments more often because you don't know what's going to happen ... there's no end-date to this, either."
Border restrictions continued to impact Border people throughout 2021, including the Cardwells, whose brand new caravan hasn't seen much action.
"Even our booking at Great Aussie Resort (at Bowna) we had to cancel that because it fell on the wrong weekend, when Albury locked down," Mr Cardwell said.
"Then we had to cancel a trip to Yarrawonga, because we were living in Albury at that stage.
"Fingers crossed we can start the new year off hitting a few local towns."
While the Cardwell family were newcomers to the event, fellow Wodonga resident Lyn McKane believed numbers were down.
"I haven't been for a couple years," she said.
"The temperature has probably held a few back."
Wodonga's major New Year's event was returning from a hiatus; restrictions on crowds in Victoria prompted the cancellation last year.
Wodonga Raiders president Mark Johnston said the crowd was smaller at sunset comparative to previous years.
"It is exciting to have it go ahead, so we just hope it's a success as it will be very disappointing if it isn't," he said.
"There's been extra security costs in getting everyone QR-coding on the way in.
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"We've had to set up fences for queueing lines around food facilities and sanitisers at every station, to make sure we're as compliant as we can be."
Mr Johnston said he hoped to see a full footy season in 2022.
"I hope we play a full 18 games and finals," he said.
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