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Lights turned on for Brisbane’s Christmas celebrations

Christmas comes to Brisbane with the lighting of the solar-powered tree with 16,000 lights. Thousands turned out for the celebration. Photo: Robert ShakespeareAfter a stormy Thursday night brought dozens of trees down, one special tree came alight last night to brighten the mood and usher in the festive season.

The 20-metre tall Christmas tree, garnished with 40km of decorations and 16,000 twinkling lights, was lit by Lord Mayor Graham Quirk at King George Square, where it will remain for the Christmas period.

The tree lighting kicked off the new Wonder of Christmas program of free entertainment, which the Mayor said is the largest of its kind in Australia.

“This year’s extensive program includes more than 200 free events and activities across the City and South Bank,” Cr Quirk said in a statement.

This includes South Bank’s first-ever Christmas markets, a three-day event at Stanley Street Plaza.

“These will be Christmas markets with a Brisbane twist: the cobbled streets will be transformed into a treasure trove of Christmas-themed stalls draped with garland, real Christmas trees, twinkling lights and festive live music and carollers,” said Cr Quirk.

One distinctively Australian addition to the festivities is a Christmas Cinema Series at Streets Beach at South Bank, where visitors will be able to watch films from the shore or whilst cooling off in the water.

The film series will include The Muppet Christmas Carol, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Elf, Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Polar Express.

At close proximity to the Christmas tree, the City Hall will be illuminated over the season for regular 15-minute light shows.

Also in the CBD, the consistently popular Myer Christmas Parade will make a return, showcasing more than 200 performers including members of the Queensland Ballet.

From December 17-21 there will be a Christmas Fireworks Spectacular, best viewed from the Clem Jones Promenade or Victoria Bridge.

Four days before Christmas there will be a one-off screening of the Queensland Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker at South Bank.

Cnr Quirk said the Christmas program would strengthen end-of-year trade, saying last year’s brought over 328,000 visitors to the CBD.

“Visitors spent a total of 6.5 hours in the CBD on average, and we’re anticipating this year’s attendance to be even bigger and better,” he said.

Brisbane City Council is offering $5 parking for weeknight and weekend visitors to the city centre.

The full Wonder of Christmas program is available online.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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