After months of COVID-19 lockdown, Canberra city will soon come alive to the sights and sounds of Christmas as the ACT heads into the festive season.
City Renewal Authority plans for celebrations in and around City Walk will be welcomed by a community emerging from public health restrictions in a year overshadowed by the pandemic.
The authority is hoping to bring people back into Civic, re-energise the city, and help struggling businesses and retailers rebound from COVID-19 restrictions.
“We are really keen to encourage Canberrans to return and rediscover the city centre following the lockdown – whether it’s after work, during the day, evening, or on the weekend – to celebrate Christmas in the city, to meet up with friends and family to shop and play, to grab a bite to eat, to support local businesses, and to bring life and activity back to the city,” said a City Renewal Authority spokesperson.
The Christmas in the City experience being developed will include a Christmas tree, decorations, flags and banners, and an interactive installation for families to enjoy.
There will also be a program of performances in and around Civic and the wider precinct, ranging from choirs and roving performers, to the Canberra Symphony Orchestra.
Installations and events will start on various dates throughout November, and carry through until Christmas.
The City Renewal Authority spokesperson said other activities planned for the summer may not be specifically Christmas-focused, but will add to the vibrancy in the city.
Such activities include performances by musicians as part of the Lunchbox Acoustics program in the city, open-air performances on Fridays in various locations, and free fitness classes in Glebe Park.
This program begins on 1 November in line with the ACT Government’s Pathway Forward out of COVID-19, and will carry on through the Christmas school holiday period.
“This program is all about involving community,” said the spokesperson. “We are designing experiences to make the city an even greater place to be and spend time in.
“We want Canberrans to shop, eat, meet friends and enjoy the city, and that is what the program offers. This will include us working with local businesses and retail outlets to co-host particular activities such as performances.”
Two recent contracts have been awarded to Melbourne-based companies experienced in event creation and management.
Dynamic Audio Visual has been selected to supply a Christmas experience in City Walk, in the form of an installation, temporary artwork, asset, structure and stage that elevates the Christmas presence in City Walk, according to the contract.
The experience must be able to operate 24/7 and respond to both a day and night environment without supervision.
The contract for John Fish Pty Ltd says the company will provide an identity for Christmas that functions as a brand that can be applied across a number of physical and digital assets, including a colour scheme, illustrations, artworks and printing recommendations.
These two contacts will cost a total of $214,700 ($176,700 for Dynamic Audio Visual, and $38,000 for John Fish).
City Renewal Authority says all activities will be conducted within the public health restrictions and align with the ACT Government’s Pathway Forward.