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Newcastle’s Civic precinct embraces Christmas spirit


Newcastle’s Wheeler Place will play host to festive fun as the Civic precinct comes to life with an 11m-high Christmas tree and family-friendly activities.

The lights on the impressive ornament, which is scheduled to remain in place until 11 January, were switched on this week by Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, with the help of Santa and his elves.

It signals the start of festivities for everyone to enjoy in the lead-up to Christmas.

Novocastrians and their four-legged friends can make the most of the free entertainment on offer over two weekends, with DIY Santa photos and pet-friendly “pawtraits” under the tree from 4.30pm to 6.30pm on 10, 11, 17 and 18 December.

Entertainers from Newcastle Music Academy and a special Christmas performance by the Novotones will add to the atmosphere during the selfie sessions.

Cr Nelmes said City of Newcastle’s signature Christmas tree and program of activities would help activate Wheeler Place and draw people into the CBD.

“We hope the sight of our Christmas tree and the fun activities will help spread joy among friends and families, while also encouraging visitors to support our city centre’s local businesses,” she explained.

“There is no better time than the lead-up to Christmas to shop locally, enjoy a night out at one of our local bars or restaurants and get behind Newcastle businesses, both in the city centre and surrounds.”

In the suburbs, Hamilton’s James Street Plaza stage a special Santa’s cave for photos, as well as performances, children’s craft workshops, gift-wrapping station and toy donation drop-off point organised by Hello Hamilton.

You can join the jolly man in the red suit on Fridays 2 and 9 December from 3pm to 6pm and Saturdays 3 and 10 December 9am to 1pm to snap your own special Christmas selfie, with professional photography packages also available.

Christmas Twilight Markets will also return to Hamilton’s Gregson Park on Tuesday 6 December from 3pm to 8pm, offering the perfect chance to pick up a unique gift from an array of local stall holders while enjoying music, food and drinks.

Wallsend’s iconic Rotunda on the corner of Nelson, Tyrrell and Harris streets will also light up this Christmas with a spectacular display and tree lit by Santa on Thursday 1 December, with Christmas carols, refreshments available and photos with Santa from 6.30pm thanks to WOW Wallsend.

The festive cheer will continue in Wallsend with performances by popular children’s entertainers Little Scallywagz each Saturday in the lead up to Christmas at 11am and 12.30pm, while the Conscious Christmas Markets return from 10am to 1pm on 10 December, and carols will be performed by quartet After Five on 21, 22 and 23 December from 6pm to 7pm.

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