Volunteers contributed around 6000 hours in preparing the most memorable display in the 16-year history of Christmas Wonderland in Toowoomba.

It is confidently predicted that the funds raised at Christmas Wonderland – standing at $956,000 from gold coin donations – will soar more than $1 million this year. With each $1 admission fee estimated to equate to one visitor the number of those attending the spectacular is also expected go into seven figures.

The 2018 Christmas Wonderland, in the Botanical Gardens at Queens Park, was officially opened by Toowoomba Regional Council mayor Paul Antonio on 30 November. Mr Antonio told the gathering, which included State parliament member for Toowoomba South David Janetzki and Toowoomba North representative Trevor Watts, that Christmas Wonderland was a tribute to the region’s community spirit. “The contribution made by volunteers has enabled Christmas Wonderland to become known right around Australia and that is a wonderful achievement,” Mr Antonio said.

The first public showing of the exhibition, hosted by the Lions Club of West Toowoomba, was on 1 December. It will run through until 24 December with Marshall Cox, who is chair of the project team, predicting the “magical figures” will be reached, given fine weather, on 22 December. As Mr Cox says the spectacle, which is put together at the Lions Club of Toowoomba West’s workshop, is “bigger, brighter and better than ever”.

The new features include a bright upgrading of the entrances to the Christmas Wonderland, which provide a prelude to the exciting lighting displays inside. Other innovative highlights introduced include a brilliantly lit Christmas tree, extensions to the Australiana and international exhibitions and a beautifully constructed Parterre garden. There are also the ever-popular themed areas, which showcase a Nativity scene, nursery rhymes, a snow theme, clowns and many others.

The major benefitting charities, as in previous years, will be Lifeline Darling Downs, Toowoomba Hospital Foundation and the Toowoomba Hospice as well as other small support organisations.

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