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The Carols By Candlelight in King Edward Park burn brighter each year

Twinkling lights: Anne-Marie Siswoy with daughter Indra, of Kotara, enjoying the 2014 Carols by Candlelight at King Edward Park. WHEN theCarols By Candlelight in King Edward Parkbeganmore than 30 years ago, it attracted just a “smattering” of people who gathered around the rotunda to belt out a few festive tunes.
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The entertainment consisted of children’s entertainerMiss Kim, 2HD radio announcer Richard King,and musical directorMilton Ward on the keys.

“I just carted the organ in there and we all sat in the rotunda and played a few Christmas carols for those people who wanted to join in,” Mr Ward said.

“From there it just developedinto what it is today–a30-piece choir, a monster stage and an eight-piece orchestrawith five different acts and singers.”

Last year the Carols By Candlelight attracted more than 15,000 people.

A similar crowd is expected on Friday, December 18,when the Newcastle Herald Newcastle Permanent Carols by Candlelightkicks off at 5.30pm.

Since its humble beginningsthe event has been hosted by the likes ofTony Barber, Barry Crocker and Kamahl, but this year MO Award-winning performer Adam Scicluna will returnto the stage to entertain and lead the proceedings.

There will also be performances byHunter Singers, Renee Berger,Nicholas Thoroughgood and Lauren Wheatley.

“Looking out from the stage each year,it is just a sea of faces,” he said

“Then when it’s dark and the candles come on it is just a sea of sparkling candles.”

Mr Ward was proud of what the event had become.

“I had my children up on stage when they were smaller,and now I’ve got grand kids coming up on stage with me,” he said.

Throughout its long history, the event has only been rained-out twice.

“One year it was pouring, there was water dripping on some of the microphones on the stage,” he said.

“We looked out and there was half a dozen people sitting under a canvas yelling,‘What time areyou gonna start?’”

The winner of the 2015 Hunter Water Hunter Hero Awards will also be announced during the event.

Every Monday in the Community section of the Newcastle Herald, we sharestories of Hunter people going above and beyond the call of duty in and for their local community.

The awardssalute these unsung heroes, with the finalists chosen via an online poll.

The carolsofficially beginat 7pm, but there will becarnival rides, activities,food,and aphoto booth from5.30pm.Santa will also make an appearance.

There is free parking in King Street Car Park, and ashuttle service from 5.30pm to 10pm.

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