Massive turnout for street party

Locals enjoying the fireworks at the Longreach Christmas Street Party.

Michael R Williams

The annual Lions Club Christmas Street Party saw a massive turnout, with vendors finding sales promising and Longreachers able to shop for presents locally.

Lion Club Christmas Street Party group member Peter Coombes said the hamburger stand he was working at, had a constant flow of customers.

“The best burgers in town on the night we reckon,” he said.

“It went right up until 9.30pm – there was a slight pause when the fireworks went off.

“And a number of people commented that the crowd was bigger than it has been, but the fact that it [the party] had been extended to two blocks down Eagle St, made it look dispersed.”

Mr Coombes said many of the stallholders had commented on the fact that their stalls had done “really well”.

“Nobody that I spoke to indicated that they hadn’t done ok,”

“Everybody was happy to very happy.”

Extracurricular events on the night included: a Truck Pull competition, photos with Santa, Town Band performances, and a fireworks display.

Mr Coombes said it was difficult to acquire a set to allow for the photos with Santa due to COVID restrictions.

“We managed to get a person to that this year and get someone on board to take the photos with Santa,” he said.

“And you mentioned the Truck Pull before, and there was quite a bit of excitement with that.

“It generated a lot of talk around town, which is good.”

Mr Coombes also said the Town Band had been popular and thanked them for running the drinks.

During the fireworks, Mr Coombes was able to take a short break between burger customers.

“It’s good that we can actually have a quick breather,” he said.

“But, yes the comments that we get beforehand, like ‘I wouldn’t go if there weren’t fireworks, and ‘they were great, weren’t they?’ after.

“It gives people a lift of spirits and sets the community up for a real good Christmas.”

Mr Coombes said there had been a conflict about the start time of the event.

“It starts at seven o’clock because we can’t get the street cleared sufficiently to set everything up,” he said.

“If we could get the street cleared earlier – that’d be great – we’d start earlier, but I think it works fairly well from 7 to 9.30 pm.

“We have a fairly good balance of activities and entertainment on the night; we don’t want it to become a big production as such that takes things away from the shops and enjoyment of the stalls.

“And we want it to remain family-friendly, so there’s no alcohol as a part of the event – the pubs and the Branch are open, but they are separate.”

Mr Coombes said they were unable to subsidise food this year as the club’s funds were tight this year.

“The sense for the night was people were enjoying it, and they stayed around a lot longer which was good too,” he said.

Mr Coombes thanked the sponsors of the event and the Leader for putting the ad in at a tight time frame.

“A few local sponsors helped, which is good because we haven’t asked in the past for local sponsorship,” he said.

“We pleasingly have been able to save enough in the kitty to make it as good or slightly better next year.”