New-look nativity scene on show

SPECIAL MOMENT: The NF McDonnell and Son Santa's Boulevard put a unique twist on the annual Christmas Parade, with more than 800 vehicles sharing their own personal moment with Santa.

A NEW-LOOK nativity scene has taken its traditional setting in the heart of Mount Gambier, adding to a week of Christmas community celebrations.

While the familiar exterior of the Nativity Hut was positioned at the Cave Gardens earlier this week, inside is a host of new figures to depict the birth of Jesus.

Mount Gambier City Council community events team leader Denise Richardson said the community display had been upgraded given the former figures were originals from when it was first unveiled in 1959.

“The last couple of years they were becoming very fragile and had a few cracks,” Ms Richardson said.

The internal components have now been replaced as part of a council spend on Christmas-themed infrastructure, with many festive “surprises” to be unveiled next year.

“We like to have something new each year and we did purchase some new floats from the Adelaide Pageant, which we have done for a couple of years and revamped them,” Ms Richardson said.

It follows Friday night’s NF McDonnell and Sons Santa’s Boulevard event, which attracted more than 800 vehicles.

A wet weather forecast on Saturday night forced the event’s cancellation due to safety risks and the fragility of some floats.

“I thought it was absolutely magical and fantastic,” Ms Richardson said of the Friday night spectacular.

“All the events team and volunteers did just a fantastic job.”

Ms Richardson also commended all involved in arranging the impromptu float parade from Blue Lake Sports Park, along Jubilee Highway, before the floats returned to the council depot.

“It gave those families who would miss out the opportunity to at least see the floats,” she said.

“They weren’t all lit up and it wasn’t quite that magical atmosphere but there were plenty of smiles and little waves.”

A special mention was also made to the schools involved in decorating Christmas trees along the Santa’s Boulevard entry lane, with Ms Richardson highlighting the importance of school involvement in the annual festive celebration.

Ms Richardson said it was thought bands would also form part of the boulevard but it was not permitted by authorities.

“Bands have been part of the Christmas Parade for many years so it was a bit sad to have the bands there,” she said.

“We look forward to having them all back next year if we can run the traditional parade.”