GALLERY: Mary Christmas Gympie! Street party returns tonight
GYMPIE'S main street will be well and truly alive with festive season spirit tonight as the fifth anniversary of the Mary Christmas event officially begins.
Horse and cart rides, buskers, roving carollers and the Choo Choo train will return as some of the main attractions, while the Gympie Historical Car Club will be on hand to show off their prized vintage classic cars before Santa Claus himself makes a visit.
A host of new features will be sure to entertain, such as a petting zoo for the kids and a Mary Valley Rattler-related grand prize for two lucky local shoppers.
Bella Casa owner and spokesman for Mary Street traders Tony Goodman said he was keenly anticipating a blockbuster night for the Gympie community.
He said Gympie Regional Council, working together with Mary St traders and the Gympie community, pulled out all the stops to make this year's event bigger than ever.
"This truly is a wonderful family night for all and it means a lot to traders in challenging times,” Mr Goodman said.
"We started this event in 2014 and it has become a big community experience, and there is big appeal from a tourism perspective as well.
"We're hoping people will come down, enjoy the night and shop local.”
Mr Goodman revealed the grand prize provided plenty of incentive for those choosing to do their Christmas shopping locally.
"If you spend $20 or more at a local shop, write your name down on the receipt and put it into the red box at the council tent near centre stage before 8.30pm.
"We'll draw out the winner and they will receive a free family day pass to ride the Rattler, valued at $145.
"If you miss out (tonight) we'll be running the competition again next week, so we've got two passes to give away.”
Today's event is scheduled to start about 5pm, and will run around the same time next Wednesday night.