21 C

What’s On: Seven things to do in the Hunter 2 to 4 Dec


We’ve officially reached summer, albeit with mild temperatures and overcast skies, and with just three weeks until Christmas there’s no denying the year is very quickly coming to an end, 2023 just around the corner.

It’s the start of the silly season.

Catch some Christmas cheer in the Hunter by soaking up at least one of our top seven events this weekend.

Families enjoying the Warners Bay livesite


Music in the Podium kicks off this Friday night at the Warners Bay foreshore. This iconic Lake Macquarie event that has run continuously for the past 25 years, will see community members gather by the lake’s edge for an evening of popular covers, rock, jazz and blues every Friday night until March. The free event runs from 6pm to 9pm. 


For just the second time in history, the Socceroos are set up for a shot to reach the quarter finals in the FIFA World Cup. To celebrate, Newcastle City Council is setting up a big screen at Wheeler Place on Sunday from 5.30am to broadcast the Australia v Argentina match live. Grab a picnic and settle in. Remember to snap some pics and tag them – Let’s go Aussies #socceroosliveatwheelerplace 

Photo: Gray Clack


Cessnock City Council’s Carols in the Park is set to return with a bang this Friday night, with country music star and local resident Tara Naysmith hosting the festivities from 5pm to 9.30pm at Cessnock Sports Ground. A 14-piece big band comprised of talented musicians from across the Hunter will join Santa’s Little Helpers for another year of musical magic under the guidance of director Greg Paterson. Expect a visit from the man in the red suit himself. And, as in years past, the event will culminate in a spectacular firework display that is sure to delight and amaze. A selection of food trucks will also be on hand to help feed the hungry masses. For those keen to get a jump on their Christmas shopping, there’ll be market stalls stocked with gift ideas, all expertly curated by Hunter Events Group.


It’s been a mainstay of the Novocastrian festive landscape for more than four decades, and this weekend Bikers for Kids will once again mobilise the community to support disadvantaged children and families in the region through their flagship event, the Newcastle Toy Run. Now in their milestone 45th year, the big-hearted motorcyclists are scheduled to arrive at Connolly Park, Carrington, on Sunday, where everyone is invited to enjoy the occasion. Between 9am and 1pm, the venue will come alive as a massive donation point for unwrapped toys, a showcase of thousands of decorated bikes, entertainment, market stalls and trade displays, free rides and amusements for the kids and plenty of food and drink options, official merchandise, The Salvation Army Christmas Appeal Collection, the annual Toy Run motorcycle raffle prize draw and lots of fun. In 2022, the Bikers for Kids Newcastle Toy Run hopes to attract in excess of 10,000 riders and enthusiasts from all over the east coast of Australia and beyond. 


The laughs will be brought to the stage by the girls this weekend as Newcastle Comedy Club on Darby Street and Rat Klub Comedy from Newtown present Women’s Comedy Showcase on Friday night. Names like Rosie Piper, Guneet Kaur, He Huang, Brooke Murphy, Fiona Cox and Sarah Gaul will perform from 7.30pm to 9pm. 


Saturday is (unofficially) Markets Day with several outdoor Christmas shopping options on offer – all designed to kickstart the festive cheer.  

The Olive Tree Market Christmas Market at Civic Park from 10am to 2pm. This market prides itself on being a vibrant space with a festival atmosphere, a place to meet with family and friends to feast on street food and discover the best live local music. Olive Tree is also committed to providing a place where artists can interact with their contemporaries and the wider public, sell their work without large overheads, and come together as a community. 

The Pelican Foreshore Market is on from 9am to 1pm. Set on the shoreline of the Lake Macquarie suburb of Pelican, this outdoor market offers more than 100 stalls of food, clothing, artisans, homewares, timber work, jewellery, fresh produce, seafood, street food, craft beer, wine, and live music. 

Handmade in the Hunter is on at Sobels Wines from 9am to 2pm. This market offers an opportunity to meet local artisans skilled in a variety of specialisations such as beekeeping, candle making, soap making, spinning, sewing, felting, photography, and painting, while stocking up on Hunter Valley produce such as fresh food, hot coffee, preserves and condiments, honey, sauces and salsas, olives and olive oil. 

Thornton Christmas Markets is on at St Michael’s Anglican Church from 8am to 1pm. 

The Morisset Showground Markets on the first Saturday of every month from 7.30am to 1pm, offering a range of stalls with bric-a-brac, jewelry, plants and potted colour, fashion, crafts, homemade items, and doggy treats, as well as The Hunter Valley-Lake Macquarie Bird and Poultry Auctions from 9am. 

Read the full markets guide here.


Santa knows not everyone is big on crowds and loud noises, so he will set up on the foreshore area in front of Rathmines Theatre this Sunday from 8am to 9am for a Santa photo for those who prefer a little less stimulation. Bookings for the Sensory Santa session are essential, and each session is just 10 minutes. Contact Lake Macquarie City Council for details of this free community event. 

For more entertainment inspo:

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