Carols ring in spirit of season

BENDIGO'S annual Christmas carols this year comes with the promise of a visit from Santa - as well as an "extra special surprise" on the night.

Up to 5000 guests are expected to attend this year's popular Rotary Club of Bendigo event, which will be in Rosalind Park this Sunday.

Organiser Valerie Broad said the event, which has been running for more than 50 years, created that beautiful festive spirit in the lead-up to Christmas. 

She said the committee had pulled out all stops to make sure the event went ahead. 

"There is a very special surprise this year - which is very different and extremely exciting - so the more families come, the happier it will be," she said.

"We just found out the real Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer will also be there so that's so exciting."

The format of this year's carols will differ from previous years, with the Greater Bendigo Brass Band performing in the first half of the set, and from 8pm, there will be children's entertainment.

The Bendigo Youth Choir will join compere Bruce Roberts for a sing-a-long, along with three Bendigo primary school choirs and the Bendigo Youth Reserve Choir. 

The second half of the program will start with the internationally-renowned Bendigo Youth Performing Choir, followed by Alana Conway, trombonist Hannah Trewartha and baritone Michael Gillies-Smith. 

Ms Broad said Santa Claus would arrive from the North Pole about 9.30pm, with festivities wrapping up before 10pm. 

"Bendigo takes great pride in this event - it's a wonderful night of entertainment and we encourage everyone to come," she said. 

Entry is free and includes a carols program, with a suggested gold coin donation to go to charity. 

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