Christmas tree lighting, parade bring festive cheer to 2020

Plans for the Murray Bridge and Tailem Bend events were on-again, off-again, but like all good Christmas stories, this one has a happy ending.

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At the 2020 lighting of the Christmas tree in Murray Bridge are Morgan Klemm, Chelsea Thurston, Arianna Cleland, Nick and Ivy Stephen, Amelia Cleland and Malachi Stephen. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without the traditional lighting of the tree in Diamond Park, Murray Bridge.

On Friday night, the city’s Lutheran churches finally got the job done after last month’s lockdown scuttled their previous plans.

About 40 people attended the evening of singing and storytelling across the street at Edwards Square, organised by the churches and the Murray Bridge council.

Mayor Brenton Lewis counted down from 10 to the big moment.

Mr Lewis described 2020 as a year that would stick in everyone’s minds for as long as they could remember, with events including last month’s Christmas pageant and local churches’ regular Christmas Day lunch – cancelled.

“Whilst we’ve endured the same restrictions as any other (South Australian) community, we haven’t had the devastating rate of illness ... so we’ve been fortunate to a large degree,” he said.

“We do need to be thankful, although it would be easy to feel a bit down about life generally.

“Overall, as a community, we've done fairly well.”

He encouraged everyone present to support local retailers who were doing it tough, and thanked them for maintaining social distancing and checking in via the My SA Gov app.

Tailem Bend Christmas parade brings community together while apart

Another festive triumph was the running of Tailem Bend’s annual Christmas parade in a modified form on Saturday night.

Residents were encouraged to picnic in their front yard as a procession of decorated and vintage cars rolled by, including a giant hay-bale Father Christmas.

Afterwards, organisers offered a big thank you to the town’s people for their support of the “amazing” night.

“We hope we brought as much joy as you gave to us,” they said on the event’s Facebook page.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

A hay-bale Santa and Country Fire Service truck bring up the rear in Tailem Bend’s 2020 Christmas parade. Photo: Glenn Power Photography and PR.