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Ballarat Carols by Candlelight 2019 to return

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Ballarat Carols by Candlelight will return for another year this December.

The announcement made today comes after the shock news last month that the long-running tradition in Ballarat would no longer go ahead, with event organisers citing a lack of finances and resources, including volunteer support, as the reason behind the cancellation.

Within hours of the news breaking last month, a GoFundMe page was set up and an outpouring of support hit social media to try and stop the event’s cancellation.

But behind the scenes, a not-for-profit organisation was formed that has taken the reins of the event from Ballarat churches, and they have worked tirelessly for a month to ensure the beloved family event would go ahead for another year, and many more to come.

Ballarat Carols by Candlelight President, Matt Hustwaite, will make the official announcement at the Wendouree Performing Arts Centre this morning, confirming that the carols will return for another festive season on Sunday December 22 at City Oval.

The new event will continue to support the 3BA Christmas Appeal, with Mr Hustwaite acknowledging the decades-old tradition that’s synonymous with the Ballarat Carols by Candlelight. 

“It’s vital that it [the Carols] continues not only as a way of bringing the community together at Christmas, but also to support the 4,500 local families that rely on the 3BA Christmas Appeal.” 

Long-time director of the 3BA Christmas Appeal, Peter Caligari OAM has been a driving force behind several carols in years prior, including the 3BA Carols by Candlelight at the Sound Shell, and has been named the Patron of Ballarat Carols by Candlelight.

The Carols will be in safe hands too, with leading theatre production experts behind a number of Ballarat’s hit musicals, including The Boy from Oz, Cats and Mary Poppins on board, while announcements of performers that will take to the stage at the event will be made at a later date.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s worthwhile to bring the community together at Christmas,” said Mr Hustwaite.

Mayor of the City of Ballarat, Cr Samantha McIntosh said the outpouring of community support following news of the cancellation confirmed how important the event was to locals. 

“Our community made it very clear how much they enjoyed attending the carols each year, and we were encouraged by the number of individuals who were willing to help out to keep the event going,” she said,

“So it was an obvious choice to put our hand up to work with interested groups and assist where we can.”

Mr Hustwaite hopes the new Ballarat Carols by Candlelight will be in the same vein as those held at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne on Christmas Eve, but will also call back to the local institution run by 3BA in the past, complete with plenty of festive cheer and candles raised in the air as the summer sun sets. 

Ballarat Carols by Candlelight 2019 is presented by Harcourts and will be held at City Oval on Sunday, December 22. 

To register your interest in volunteering, visit www.ballaratcarolsbycandlelight.org.au.

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