CHRISTMAS kicked off early in Warrnambool, with Liebig Street bustling with activity to mark the Black Friday Sales and the city's 'A Very Different Christmas' event.
A Very Different Christmas is the 2020 version of A Very Liebig Christmas, a family-friendly community event that aims to support local business as part of the COVID-19 recovery period and to bring the cheer and fun to the community.
Rather than just one night, A Very Different Christmas will run over three days - November 27-29 - with COVID-safe activities and entertainment spaced throughout both in person and virtually.
Friday kicked off with Black Friday Sales and late night shopping and the lighting of Warrnambool's biggest Christmas tree - the beautiful Norfolk Pine at the Civic Green.
There was also live street music, neon Christmas sculptures and Mik Maks online concert.
Event manager Adele Griffin said it was important for people to support local after what had been a challenging time for businesses through the pandemic.
"We've had a big day already here on Liebig Street and I hear out at Gateway Plaza as well," she said.
"The sales have definitely got people out of their homes and on the streets and spending local, which is the most important thing.
"We've also got our pay if forward promotion so if you're down here shopping you might be lucky enough to have a voucher handed to you, something you can keep, pay forward to someone else or donate to MacKillop Family Services for their Christmas tree appeal.
"Having worked in the main street through the COVID-19 pandemic particularly earlier in the year to not see a soul walking up Liebig Street was quite heartbreaking at times. These guys survived it, their doors are open and it's really important to spend the money here in Warrnambool and encourage them to keep their doors open."
Jimmi Buscombe and his little helper Frankie Rose created live 3D street art to promote the launch of their new Trick of the Eye art book.
"We've combined the launch of our new Trick of the Eye book with the Christmas celebrations," Jimmi said.
"We're doing one of the chalk arts out of the book, I've got my helper Frankie Rose here, so we've decided to do a sunflower to show people the process of doing them so they might buy the book and give it a go themselves.
"It's got 10 templates of 3D street art that you can do at home.
"It's really nice to be getting back into some public art, having people come by and ask questions and being without a mask, that's nice."
Warrnambool Daizy Boutique owner Maree Wills said it was great to see people shopping and supporting local businesses.
"It's been a really good day," she said. "While not as busy as last year we've had around 60 people through the doors already.
"Even the vibe has completely changed, people are happier and feeling positive about being out and about."
On Saturday there will be footpath market stalls along Liebig Street, live street music and the Warrnambool Symphony Orchestra's Annual Children's Concert with special guest Emma Wiggle.
On Sunday there will be a spectacular Santa appearance and the Fresh Market Warrnambool Christmas Market.
For more visit: https://www.averydifferentchristmas.com.au/
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