The rain was not enough to dampen people’s spirits as a crowd of at least 1000 flocked to the Christmas tree lighting event in Rosalind Park last night.
Those involved hailed the event a success, including children’s entertainer Brett Gregory, who had his young audience in hysterics.
“It was much bigger and better than I thought,” he said.
“There’s certainly nobody in Bendigo who didn’t want this to happen.
“It was great to get in on the Christmas festivities.”
Audience members were also treated to performances from CV Dance Studio and the Bendigo Youth Choir, followed by a visit from Santa.
Bendigo Advertiser mascot Kooka handed out showbags with Santa hats and angel wings to bring some more Christmas spirit to the night and was mobbed by excited children
White Hills resident Olivia Foster won a Bendigo Advertiser competition to flick the switch to light up the giant Christmas tree, which received a loud cheer from attendees.
The 11-year-old’s mother, Theressa, was amazed when her daughter’s name was picked to light up the tree.
“It was the first year we’ve come down and we love it,” Theressa said.
“Reading the coverage all week about how it was cancelled, we wanted to throw our support behind it.
“It turned out to be wonderful.”
Local radio presenter Bryan Coghlan helped MC the festivities with Beck Chalmer and said it was great the community had rallied to save the event.
“People wanted this bad,” he said. “I think people voted with their feet tonight.
“We’ll do it again next year bigger and better than ever.”