Festive season celebrations under way in the Illawarra

Christmas trees are up, Santa lists are being drafted and parents are fretting over their ‘to-do’ lists. 

The Illawarra officially kicked off its festive season celebrations on the weekend.

On Friday, the Corrimal Carols and Moonlight Movie took place at Robert Ziems Park. There was a gold coin donation at the gate, with money raised donated to Bellambi Junior Surf Club. 

Performers at the Corrimal Carols and Moonlight Movie. Picture: Georgia Matts

Performers at the Corrimal Carols and Moonlight Movie. Picture: Georgia Matts

Saturday featured the Dapto Christmas Festival at Dapto Anglican Church. 

This included market stalls, Christmas carols, carnival food and fireworks.

Sunday’s events were scheduled to include the Bulli Anglican Church Carols and Markets, a festive evening of artisan, homemade and fair trade market stalls, as well as carols and a nativity play. 

Another scheduled event was the Fraternity Club Christmas Festival, which included market and food stalls, an appearance by Santa, carols and more. 

Also taking place on Sunday was the final rehearsal for Shellharbour City Council’s annual Carols by Candlelight event.

Council will host the event on Friday, December 8. 

The event will take place at Reddall Reserve, Lake Illawarra, starting at 5.30pm with a children’s concert, the Ronald McDonald show, before carols begin at 6.30pm. The show will end with a fireworks display at 8.30pm.

"Our carols event is a highlight in the region’s Christmas calendar, attracting thousands of people to our foreshore each year,” Mayor Marianne Saliba said. 

Shannon Brown is this year’s new music director. Originally from Wollongong, he has toured internationally as one of the frontline tenors and musical director for internationally acclaimed group, The Ten Tenors.

Performers at this year’s carols will include the Southern Lights Academy featuring 15 young male singers, SoOpera performing a song from their latest production Little Mermaid, the Illawarra Youth Arts Project performing a number from the movie Elf and the Corpus Christi vocal ensemble led by Angela Quinn.

Courtney Texeria will also be making a return performance. She made her first carols performance when she was only nine. Now in her 20s, she has released her first single, is working on an album and has started her own performing arts studio.

Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba with Sabrina Minns and Charlotte Hooper, who at seven years old is one of the youngest performers at the Shellharbour event, on Sunday. Picture: Supplied

Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba with Sabrina Minns and Charlotte Hooper, who at seven years old is one of the youngest performers at the Shellharbour event, on Sunday. Picture: Supplied

Mother and daughter Serafina and Sabrina Minns are also returning. The two have been involved in the cast of the carols for many years.

The Disability Trust’s Music Makers also make a return to the stage this year.

Other upcoming events include the Wollongong Christmas Carols on Sunday, December 10. Santa Fest will be on at Lang Park from 3pm. The Disability Trust and Salvos Wollongong will present a free family-friendly Christmas carols sing-along. 

There will also be live music, food stalls, kids’ activities and fireworks.