The largest calendar of free Christmas events in the country was kicked off at Queen Street Mall today as Lord Mayor Graham Quirk revealed a program comprising over 400 performances including the Myer Christmas Parade and pantomime.
Cr Quirk said the main events had proved so popular last year, the pantomime had been moved from the mall to King George Square to increase capacity, with the parade and the pantomime both running an extra two nights to cater to demand.
Audience numbers are expected to double from last year to 120,000 he said.
“We can cater for it,” Cr Quirk said. “The Queen Street Mall is a big location; the surrounding streets that make up our CBD provide tremendous opportunities.”
Detailing the program, which begins with the Myer City Christmas Winder and Santaland launch tomorrow, Cr Quirk said there was “something for everybody”.
“There's a terrific range of events happening, this is going to be Brisbane coming alive,” he said.
“There's the lighting of the Christmas tree at King George Square, the IGA Lord Mayor's Christmas carols – there's a whole plethora of events; great street entertainment here in the Queen Street Mall as well, the most successful mall out of any mall in Australia.”
But Cr Quirk said the festivities were also designed to drive sales across more than 1000 retailers and 200 food and beverage outlets located in the mall.
“We are expecting more people to come in – entertainment attracts people,” he said.
“We want excitement and energy in our city, that's what I've been on about, and that's what we're going to see.”
Retailers in the city are extending trading hours in the lead up to Christmas with stores on the Queen Street Mall and major shopping centre to stay open later from Thursday, December 20.
Last-minute shoppers will be catered to with stores open from 8am to midnight on Friday December 21, and 8 am to 9 pm on Christmas Eve.
Shopping centres and individual stores will be closed Christmas Day before trading resumes on Boxing Day for end of year sales.
More information about the council's Christmas program is available at the council website.