Yulefest in the windows of Upper Blue Mountains shops

Winter Magic may have been cancelled this year, but that’s not stopped the businesses in the Upper Blue Mountains from bringing a Winter Solstice feel to the shopping precincts.

The villages of Wentworth Falls, Leura, Katoomba and Blackheath have combined to promote a competition between the townships for the best Yuletide decorated village.

Lew Hird, president of the Wentworth Falls Chamber of Commerce and Community, said “it’s just a means of promoting the Upper Mountains solstice with a Winter Magic theme, even though Winter Magic has been cancelled this year … attracting additional business custom through July on the back of the Yuletide concept.”

“Mark Jarvis and members of the Katoomba Chamber of Commerce and Community initiated the idea in lieu of the cancellation of the Winter Magic Festival,” he said.

The event starts on June 23 and continues until the end of July. The winning town will receive the inaugural ‘Sister Slipper’ trophy “plus a year’s worth of bragging rights.. both priceless,” he added.

One shop already in full Yulefest mode is The Little Flower Shop in Wentworth Falls, where the window has been dressed to capture the atmosphere of a northern hemisphere Christmas.

Owner, Olivia Meredith’s “Winter Wonderland” window, has everything from a Christmas peacock with a sign around its neck that says ‘Meet me under the Mistletoe’ to bronze magnolia leaves, an old stove called Bruno, Italian glassware and wool, men’s shed boxes and voluminous bolls of cotton purchased in Orange. She’s hoping all the other villages tap into their creativity and take part.

All participating shopfronts and businesses across each of the villages will be judged independently and will be in the running for prizes ranging from $500 to $50. There will be a workshop for anybody wishing to participate at the Carrington Hotel in Katoomba on June 19 from 6-7pm. Decorations need to be completed by July 2 to be in the running and judging will be based on creativity, originality, effort and the “wow factor”.

Winter Solstice for 2018 is officially on June 21. Blue Mountains City Council is running a mini music festival in Katoomba town centre on Saturday June 23, in lieu of the 2018 festival. 

Venues hosting artists for the Katoomba Solstice Celebration include the Avalon, St Hildas, Vintage Emporium, Platform Gallery, Hominy Bakery, Katoomba Street Café, Rex Livingston and Gallery ONE88.

The free multi-venue family-friendly celebration is on in the Katoomba CBD from 11am to 5pm. Up to 50 local musicians will entertain from 12 locations, including two stages and pop-up performance spaces. There’ll also be kid’s activities including henna art, face painting and origami.

The Carrington Hotel will hold a fireworks display off the roof on the evening of June 23 and will host entertainment throughout the grounds during the day and night.