Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Festive spirit alive and well in Shepparton

Hundreds of people flocked to Queens Gardens last night for Shepparton's Carols by Candlelight.

ALEXANDRA BOLKAS December 23, 2013 4:57am

Shepparton's Jensen Balnaves, 16 months.

Last night’s Carols by Candlelight marked the beginning of the first Shepparton Christmas for some.

Jo Bishop and son Harrison, 10 months, set up camp on a picnic blanket with her family to soak up the festive atmosphere in the balmy weather.

‘‘It’s Harrison’s first Christmas and his first carols — we’re here for him,’’ she said.

Mrs Bishop’s family formed part of hundreds that crowded into Queens Gardens armed with chairs, rugs and food supplies for the 39th year of the carols.

It was another first for family and musical group Restored, which led the singing of White Christmas, O Little Town of Bethlehem and Amazing Grace.

‘‘We moved from Sydney seven months ago... Shepparton is very different to Sydney, but this is an opportunity and a half,’’ singer Phyllis Robertson said.

‘‘There is a nice atmosphere and Christmas spirit here tonight.’’

Kristy Rudd said her son Cooper, 3, was loving singing and dancing to the carols dressed up as Santa.

‘‘We come as much as we can — it gets us and the kids into the spirit of Christmas,’’ she said.

Performers from Initial Stages and the Turaton Christmas Choir took to the stage among many other local acts.

Auslan interpreters translated the carols using sign language.

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