By Brendan Rees
Thousands have turned out to the “most successful” annual Clyde Carols by Candlelight which was chock full of entertainment on Saturday evening, 7 December.
Families and people of all ages covered the lawns of Hillcrest Christian College Oval to sing along to some Christmas favourites and catch a glimpse of Santa.
The Gethsemane Church event, now in its third year, was MC’d by Federal Member for Holt Anthony Byrne and Casey councillors Damien Rosario and Wayne Smith.
Performing on a lit up stage were Kerrigan La-Brooy, Derrick Junkeer, Elizabeth Skaliaris, Naomi Horsley, Ebony Portelli, Olivia Giannikopoulos, Shannon Arfaras, Melissa Junkeer and the Gethsemane Church Worship Singers, Steph Panza, Gene De Hoon, Suzannah De Hoon, Carin Premkumar and Priya Premkumar.
There were also kid’s amusements, free carnival rides, sausage sizzle, food vendors, raffle prizes, free giveaways, and a visit from Santa aboard a fire truck – thanks to the event’s major sponsor Barry Bourke Berwick.
Gethsemane Church pastor Kerrigan La-Brooy said the event was an “enormous success” and one of their biggest yet with more than 5,000 people attending.
He said the team at Gethsemane “worked round the clock” to ensure everyone had a good time.
“The arrival of Santa on a Fire Truck was definitely a highlight,” he said.
“There were 14 free raffle prizes drawn … and the first prize in the main raffle was around $3,000.
“All the children enjoyed unlimited free rides for the duration of the event which ran from 5.30-9.30 pm.”
Attendees took to social media paying tribute to the event.
“What a gift to the community,” one post read.
“Always such an awesome fun night!!” another said.
Pastor La-Brooy said the carols may be over but the charitable works of Gethsemane Church continued.
“In two weeks, they’ll be presenting their Christmas Miracle where they’re expecting to give over 1,000 children a brand-new Christmas gift,” he said.
“To many of these children it will be the only gift they receive for Christmas.”