Late-night shopping in Yass is a lot more than the shops staying open past 5 pm. It’s a full-on festival and it’s returning to the quaint NSW town for the second time this Christmas season.
The town’s main street will come alive with stalls of local produce, wines, crafts and handmade wares lining its sides on the two Thursdays before Christmas, while the whiff of a barbecue and the music of buskers will fill the air.
The arrival of Santa on a flatbed truck, bell jingling, will herald the start of the event, followed by a parade of frontline worker vehicles.
Yass Valley Business Chamber president Jack Walker says the organisation is aiming to build on last year’s success, and send off 2021 with a memorable event.
“Last year, it was a lot of fun, smiles and laughter for kids and adults alike,” he says. “We’re expecting the same again this year.”
So far, 14 stallholders are on the books, offering locals a prime opportunity to get out of the house with family or search for a last-minute unique gift for a loved one.
Jim Hutton has a permanent workshop space in Yass called Made From Fallen Wood, and he will bring his wares and tools to the street for the occasion, delicately carving and sanding cutlery from fallen hardwood he has collected from around the region.
“The first late-night shopping event last year brought everyone out after the first bout of COVID-19, and everyone is definitely ready for a similar event this year,” he says.
Jim says all of his wooden spoons are made for use, but with six to eight hours being poured into each one, many people take one look at the handcrafted beauty and decide it’s more suited as a decoration on the mantel piece.
“I describe myself as a ‘bodger’, in the traditional sense of the word,” he says. “I’m still working in the navy at the moment, but do it [woodcarving] whenever I can in my spare time.”
Rotary Club of Yass president Mick Newling will be keeping people fed with sausage sandwiches from two barbecue stalls.
“Last year, we just had the one barbecue but we found ourselves getting snowed under,” he says.
Mick says the festival started simply enough with shops staying open a little later in the lead up to Christmas Day.
“Santa walking up and down the streets handing out lollies to children and simple things like that, but last year really saw things getting serious,” he says.
Mick says the occasion not only brings locals together, but also attracts people from the nearby towns of Bowning and Binalong.
“Yass is known to have had some really good events in the past, but these haven’t been able to happen in recent times,” he says.
“It will be really good to have something back.”
The late-night shopping events will provide a feel-good vibe the town hasn’t seen since last year, with COVID-19 restrictions in regional NSW ruling out such public gatherings in 2021.
In light of this, the event also aims to celebrate the efforts of local health care workers who found themselves on the frontline during the course of the pandemic.
Yass Valley late-night shopping kicks off at 6 pm on Thursday, 16 December, and again at 6 pm on Thursday, 23 December, on Comur Street, Yass. It runs until late on both nights.
For more information, visit Yass Valley Business Chamber.