Late Night Shopping in Yass working group members SPIN President Barry O’Mara, Yvonne O’Mara, Pam Staines & Rotarian Mick Newling.

For the coming Christmas period, Yass residents and visitors to the main street have much to look forward to with a host of activities planned to make it a memorable experience.

In the hopes of creating a market-like atmosphere this year, there will be street stalls on the footpaths featuring local produce, the region’s wines, crafts along with busking, emergency service demonstrations, raffles, a visit from Santa and some illuminating additions from Council to transform Comur Street.

Yass Valley Business Chamber has headed up the effort to create something special for the community along with community organisations and Yass Valley Council.

The coordinated effort acknowledges the extra challenges COVID has brought our community and local businesses in 2020.

Starting this Saturday, December 5th from 9 am to 1 pm; the traditional APEX Giant Christmas Stocking will appear at the SPIN Foundation and Lion’s Club street stall with raffle tickets on sale, a ham wheel, cakes and more.

CBD late-night trade kicks off on the following Thursday night December 10th, and a gala event on Thursday, December 17th starts from 5 pm The SPIN (Supporting People in Need) Foundation efforts have exceeded expectations in gathering prizes to be raffled off after the first prize traditional giant Christmas Stocking full of goodies.

“It’s ended up bigger than we imagined. We have 60 prizes valued at $5,500” President of SPIN, Mr Barry O’Mara advised.

“I’m a traditionalist and wanted to bring back the APEX stocking. I remember it from when I was a kid. It’s important we keep traditions going,” Mr O’Mara said.

In a year filled with cancelled events, the early December period will be an opportunity for locals to enjoy the festivity of the season and their town, making up for the home confinement many have had to deal with over the year and go some way to compensate for lack of outings.

Yass Valley Business Chamber President Mr Jack Walker is confident the local community will support each other and ‘Go Local’ for their Christmas gift shopping.

“We are hoping the chrissy shopping this year will be bigger and better than ever. The fact that we can’t travel a lot this year means a lot of people have been saving and are probably looking to support local festivities,’ Mr Walker said.

Organisers have made preparations to comply with COVID-safe management and are asking shoppers to maintain social distancing.

“We’re looking to maintain COVID measures, practice social distancing, so the events will probably be spread out,” Mr Walker advised.

The major late-night trade event on December 17th will feature a collaboration of organisations including Lions Club, SPIN Foundation, Full Circle Serenity, Rotary and Bango Wind Farm, with businesses, markets and independent attractions such as buskers also encouraged.

Santa Claus is expected to make a special appearance from 6:30 – 7:30 pm.

Yass Valley Council has also come forward with what they’ve allocated for the night, and what one should expect; “Council has allocated some funds for Christmas decorations in Yass. Council were exploring the option of light projections on some of our main street buildings, but due to supplier issues this has been postponed and will be planned for a later date. We are now exploring a number of traditional Christmas decorations for the main street,” a spokesperson said.

This will include the traditional banners and bunting with new fairy lights for some of the main street trees still being finalised according to the General Manager, Chris Berry.

The traditional Yass Combined Churches Christmas Carols in the Park event has been cancelled this year due to COVID, so the main street festivities are likely to be final public event high-light for the year in Yass.

With a responsible and sensible adherence to standard COVID practices, the event should be safe, and a success that shows community events can still thrive in the new post-lockdown world.

Griffin Palen