Central Otago was awash with Christmas spirit as community celebrations took place throughout the region at the weekend.

The Omakau Christmas in the Park and market, in the Omakau domain, saw about 500 people from the Maniototo and beyond come for an afternoon of music, a waterslide for the children and stalls from local artists, creatives and producers.

Taste of summer . . . Gwendolyn Dewey (9), of Cromwell, and Olivia Suszko (10), of Omakau, enjoy their ice creams at the Omakau Christmas in the Park and market. PHOTO: SHANNON THOMSON

Co-organiser Vicky Bowman said the event exceeded her expectations and would look at repeating it again next year.

In Cromwell, the annual A Very Central Christmas organised by the Cromwell and Districts Promotion Group took place at a new venue, the lawn of the McNulty House in the historic precinct.

Joy spreaders . . . Christmas fairies Wanja Carree Joll (left) and Tess MacTaggart, of Flame Entertainment, at A Very Central Christmas in Cromwell. PHOTO: SHANNON THOMSON

The location change sheltered attendees from the winds which in the past had caused havoc with the event.

Performances from the Fine Thyme Belles, Cromwell Drama School and local musicians brought the entertainment, while Santa and his helpers provided Christmas cheer.

Songs of the season . . . Members of the Roxburgh Brass Band performing at Alexandra Community Christmas Carols on Sunday. PHOTO: TRACIE BARRETT

Down the river, the Alexandra Community Christmas Carols saw the Roxburgh Brass Band and Ukes In Thyme lead carols on the lawn between St Enoch’s Church and Alexandra Community House.

Organised by the Alexandra Combined Churches, the annual event saw people of all ages join in the singing of Christmas carols.