Ye faithful turn up to carols
THE thousands of people who flocked to the Carols by Candlelight at the Bundy showground on Friday night were a sure sign the much-loved annual event was destined to continue.
The future of the carols hung in the balance back in October, when a lack of funding threatened to force the event to be called off.
But organiser David Stretton said the support from the community had ensured the 54th year of the carols could go on.
"We were absolutely delighted with the roll-up," he said.
Menacing rain clouds late last week again cast doubt over the event, but the weather gods stepped in and kindly kept the rain at bay.
"It was our own little Christmas miracle - in the end, it went ahead," Mr Stretton said.
The organiser said the 15 minute fireworks display wowed the crowd of about 4000-5000 people, which was a sea of colour-changing safety candles, swaying in time to the carols.
"From the stage looking out, it just looked brilliant," he said.
Mr Stretton said it was great to see so many children enjoying themselves and singing along to the timeless tunes.
"After such a tough year, the feeling there was absolutely fantastic," he said.
"My thanks go to every single sponsor but mostly to the people of Bundaberg for coming and supporting it.
"Hopefully we will see it continuing for another 54 years."
Carolling in the region continued across the weekend, with residents of Elliott Heads coming together on Saturday night for a special Christmas event under the stars.
President of the Elliott Heads Ratepayers Association and event organiser Barry Bainbridge said the Carols by Candlelight had been an enjoyable evening.
"We started off at 6.30pm with some carols, and the Elliott Heads State School choir sang a few too," he said.
Much to the children's delight, Santa Claus made a special trip from the North Pole to give out a few early Christmas gifts.
"He gave all the children a bag of lollies each," Mr Bainbridge said.
About 200 people turned up for the carols, but Mr Bainbridge said the weather had been to blame for fewer numbers this year.
"I don't think the crowd was as big as we have had in the past two years," he said.