The community spirit in Maclean shone as brightly as the colourful Christmas decorations in shop windows last week as a special late-night shopping event drew a large crowd of people to River Street.
Organised by the Maclean Chamber of Commerce, the Maclean Lions Club and a number of other local organisations, the event enabled small businesses to remain open until 8pm and invite residents and visitors to the Clarence Valley to enjoy some much-needed retail therapy ahead of the festive season while giving the local economy a welcome boost.
President of the Maclean Chamber of Commerce Christine Tyler said there was “a really good turnout” on Friday night, and she was thrilled the community fully embraced the occasion.
“There were lots of families and young kids out and about, and it was really pleasing to see them getting involved in the community and helping to support our local shops and business owners,” she said happily.
“At a guess, I’d say there were about 250 people or more who came to Maclean for the event and the local businesses said they had an excellent night.
“There was face painting for the kids, carol singers, Highland dancers performed out the front of Mitre 10 and the pipe band were really popular with the crowd too.
“The Maclean Hotel was really busy and the Maclean Lions Club raised a lot of money through their barbeque which all goes back to the local community.
“Everyone had a great time and I’m extremely proud of what we’ve been able to achieve by coming together.”
When asked if the event will become an annual attraction, Ms Tyler said it was definitely something local business owners are “keen to do more often.”
“It definitely boosted our local economy and also the mental health of our community too because it gave so many people something positive to look forward to,” she said.
“It brought a little bit of joy to the street, and everyone was having a good time catching up.
“It was a great night.”
Yaegl elders performed a traditional Welcome to Country in McNaughton Place as the evening commenced and Santa made a special appearance, greeting excited children and spreading some Christmas cheer.
Tracy Smith from Maclean Lions Club said there was a fantastic turnout and energy during the late-night shopping event, and it was wonderful to see all the participating stores and stalls decked out in their Christmas finery.