GALLERY: Carols by Candlelight in King Edward Park

JOY: Haylee Price, 9, and Alex Campbell, 21, from Waratah, enjoyed Carols by Candlelight at King Edward Park last night. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
JOY: Haylee Price, 9, and Alex Campbell, 21, from Waratah, enjoyed Carols by Candlelight at King Edward Park last night. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

THOUSANDS of tiny lights flickered and danced in King Edward Park last night as the Hunter got into the spirit at the Newcastle Herald Carols By Candlelight.

READY TO SING: At the Herald Carols by Candlelight in King Edward Park last night. From left to right, Nova Carias-Cox, Connor O'Dowd, Liam Bell, Ben Howard, all 15 years old and all from Merewether except Connor, he is from Hamilton. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

READY TO SING: At the Herald Carols by Candlelight in King Edward Park last night. From left to right, Nova Carias-Cox, Connor O'Dowd, Liam Bell, Ben Howard, all 15 years old and all from Merewether except Connor, he is from Hamilton. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

READY TO SING: At the Herald Carols by Candlelight in King Edward Park last night. From left to right, Jordan Sleigh, Corrie Jackson, Liam and Jordan O'Kane, all from Bar Beach.Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

READY TO SING: At the Herald Carols by Candlelight in King Edward Park last night. From left to right, Jordan Sleigh, Corrie Jackson, Liam and Jordan O'Kane, all from Bar Beach.Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

READY TO SING: At the Herald Carols by Candlelight in King Edward Park last night. From left to right, Gavin Tisdell with Alana Burnett, 6 year old Jasmine Bruce, left, and 4 year old Louise Bruce, right, all from Newcastle. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

READY TO SING: At the Herald Carols by Candlelight in King Edward Park last night. From left to right, Gavin Tisdell with Alana Burnett, 6 year old Jasmine Bruce, left, and 4 year old Louise Bruce, right, all from Newcastle. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

READY TO SING: At the Herald Carols by Candlelight in King Edward Park last night. From left to right, Grace Sorby, New Lambton, Keely Godfrey-Smith, Merewether, both 14. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

READY TO SING: At the Herald Carols by Candlelight in King Edward Park last night. From left to right, Grace Sorby, New Lambton, Keely Godfrey-Smith, Merewether, both 14. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

READY TO SING: At the Herald Carols by Candlelight in King Edward Park last night. From left, Kim Mulder of Merewether, Kasey Salmon of Kotara, and Kristyn Chapman of Merewether.  Picture MAX MASON-HUBERS

READY TO SING: At the Herald Carols by Candlelight in King Edward Park last night. From left, Kim Mulder of Merewether, Kasey Salmon of Kotara, and Kristyn Chapman of Merewether. Picture MAX MASON-HUBERS

READY TO SING: At the Herald Carols by Candlelight in King Edward Park last night. Pictured L-R Peter Botka of Broadmeadow, Caitlin Johnson of Medowie, Gordon Smith of Merewether, Sarah Gray of Merewether, Emily Cox of Merewether, and Jacky Hipwell. Picture MAX MASON-HUBERS

READY TO SING: At the Herald Carols by Candlelight in King Edward Park last night. Pictured L-R Peter Botka of Broadmeadow, Caitlin Johnson of Medowie, Gordon Smith of Merewether, Sarah Gray of Merewether, Emily Cox of Merewether, and Jacky Hipwell. Picture MAX MASON-HUBERS

READY TO SING: At the Herald Carols by Candlelight in King Edward Park last night. Ashley Brooks of The Hill (checked), and Karina Pizzingrilli of Eleebana. Picture MAX MASON-HUBERS

READY TO SING: At the Herald Carols by Candlelight in King Edward Park last night. Ashley Brooks of The Hill (checked), and Karina Pizzingrilli of Eleebana. Picture MAX MASON-HUBERS

READY TO SING: At the Herald Carols by Candlelight in King Edward Park last night. Jasmine Dwarte  of Newcastle, Zoe Hector of The Hill, and Mitchell Newell of The Hill. Picture MAX MASON-HUBERS

READY TO SING: At the Herald Carols by Candlelight in King Edward Park last night. Jasmine Dwarte of Newcastle, Zoe Hector of The Hill, and Mitchell Newell of The Hill. Picture MAX MASON-HUBERS

The crowds got in early, marking their territory with picnic blankets and beach chairs in front of the main stage while thousands of others jostled for position up the sloping hill.

The promise of clear skies saw the numbers swell to more than 15,000 people, making the 27th year of the annual event one to remember. 

Santa hats were replaced by the cowboy variety on stage as Newcastle country musician Bob Corbett and Golden Guitar winner Kirsty Akers performed some of their favourite Christmas Carols. As darkness crept in, and word spread in whispers that Santa Claus was on his way, thousands of tiny candles lit up the hillside. 

Jasmine Dwarte, 23, and Zoe Hector, 28, of Newcastle, said the evening wasn’t exclusively for children and families. 

‘‘Even if you don’t have kids you can come down and have a really good night,’’ Miss Dwarte said. ‘‘We brought a picnic down, had a few drinks, the weather was fine and it was free, you really can’t ask for more than that.’’

Police at the event said the crowds had been well behaved.