Armidale's Christmas in the Mall celebration is expanding to three evenings of live music, spectacular new lights and extra shopping opportunities this year.
Celebrations will be spread over the first three Thursdays in December, to enable the popular annual event to comply with current COVID social distancing measures and incorporate a focus on late night shopping.
"Night one will launch an array of stunning new Christmas lights that will decorate Beardy Street Mall throughout the Christmas - New Year period," Council's Interim Administrator, Viv May, said.
"A series of great musicians will then keep the celebrations going over those three Thursdays, to create a fun and festive atmosphere while people do their Christmas shopping and support local traders.
"The increasingly popular Christmas in the Mall event brings between 3000 and 4000 people into the mall and it's unfortunate the ongoing need for social distancing makes it impossible to stage the usual event this year."
Food and market stalls will not be held this year. It has also been necessary to cancel the annual visit by Santa Claus and the countdown to switching on the Christmas tree lights.
"We've had to take a different approach to bringing Christmas to the mall in 2020, while supporting local businesses as they recover from the challenges of the past 18 months," Mr May said.
"Community members are invited into the Armidale CBD between 5pm and 8pm to enjoy the sights and sounds, do a spot of Christmas shopping and book into their favourite venue for a bite to eat."