THE Clunes community has long been preparing to celebrate Christmas.
It is a group of dedicated volunteers who have been polishing decorations for months, hanging them along the main street and coordinating the town's calendar of Christmas events.
For the fourth year in a row community members have come together to decorate the town with festive cheer, though with filming of the second series of Bloom just wrapping up, the decorating schedule has been reduced from a leisurely period of two weeks to just two days.
A night of festivities will be hosted each Friday night in the lead up to December 25.
The third annual Christmas street parade will be hosted on December 6, organised by the town's youth participating in the Art Attack program, followed by a circus carnival, Christmas stalls and a public screening of Love Actually in an outdoor cinema.
The following week there will be a bush dance and a feast in the street and the week before Christmas there will be carols starring Kylie Auldist, live music and activities for children.
The calendar of events highlights the strong community spirit in the town, with volunteers attending a Christmas workshop each Tuesday since June, during which intense planning and preparation of decorations has been undertaken.
With the pressure of the reduced decorating schedule it was through a relationship with Wesley College that it was organised for visual merchandiser Wayne Morton, who constructs window designs at department stores, to decorate the town's rotunda.
Working with groups such as Art Attack and the Clunes Tourist and Development Association to organise the program of events, this year's program is stronger than it has ever been.
The street parade will be its biggest yet, with children walking on stilts, people riding on floats representing a cross section of groups from across the community - from the kindergarten, to schools, the bowling club and local businesses.
The festival is quite unique because it really is an expression of Christmas spirit.Clunes Neighbourhood House's Lana de Kort
"We have focused on opportunities for everybody to get involved. We have made a lot of the floats, so it's really quite hands on," Ms de Kort said.
"This year a lot more local people are anticipating Christmas in Clunes and have planned ahead because they want to be involved. It makes people feel like they are part of a big community. It is a chance to be together and a chance to have fun."
She said the events not only encouraged residents to mingle with their neighbours while participating in the organisation of the events, but were also an opportunity to invite others to visit the town.
Costume designer Mel Drummond has been involved with the parade for three years.
Now retired, he once owned Domino the Costume Makers in Melbourne, through which he created costumes for children's theatre productions, musicals, opera and ballet.
This year he has designed more than 25 costumes with the traditional Christmas theme alongside Marian Wielders.
Ms Wielders, who has five sisters and has been sewing since she was seven, has completed all of the alterations.
Mr Drummond began hitting Op Shops in July, searching for red and green items of clothing to transform into costumes.
Both Mr Drummond and Ms Wielders look forward to seeing the smiles on people's faces when they step out in their costumes on the night.
For more information and to keep up-to-date with the events visit facebook.com/christmasinclunes
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