Wonderland hits $1m
ON BEHALF of the members of the Lions Club of Toowoomba West and the committee of Toowoomba’s Christmas Wonderland, may we use your paper to pass on our sincere appreciation to the people of Toowoomba and surrounding regions for their generosity and support of our 2018 event.
Without such support and generosity, the event would not have been a huge success once again.
Leading up to the 2018 event, a total of $956,000 had been contributed to the community from Toowoomba’s Christmas Wonderland and we are pleased to advise that during this year’s event, we have reached a milestone of more than $1 million in donations.
Funds for this year’s event will be distributed to our beneficiaries, mainly Lifeline Darling Downs and SW Queensland, the Toowoomba Hospice and the Toowoomba Hospital Foundation and other smaller organisations, who have been very appreciative of the distributions with funds assisting them with their ongoing needs.
This event has become a regular feature on everyone’s calendar with a common theme of “see you at the lights” heard around town prior to and during the event. We must also acknowledge the cooperation of Toowoomba Regional Council for its continuing support and especially the parks and garden staff members who ensure that the Botanical Gardens area is always spic and span for our visitors each night.
To our sponsors, a special thank you to you all for your continuing support of this event through goods in kind and cash donations. Your support has allowed our club to continue to host the event and provide the public with a family-oriented activity that brings smiles and joy to everybody that visits.
Visitors in 2018 were more than 78,500 with one night lost to wet weather and four other nights weather affected. During the past three nights of the event this year, visitor numbers were more than 26,000 alone – just amazing.
Despite the loss of one night to the weather, the event has exceeded our expectations, and to you all “thank you” for your support and generosity – through your visits, funds raised will go directly to our beneficiaries. Our entertainers, who give freely of their time to perform for our visitors, also deserve our accolades – without their support we could not provide the public with this activity. Total number of entertainers this year were 1771 combining stage entertainers, roving entertainers, dance groups and costumed characters.
A special thank you also to our volunteers – we require about 40 people to help with running the event each night and without people giving us freely of their time the event could just not happen. Over the event total numbers of volunteers were 1416, each working an average of 3.5 hours, with volunteers sourced from 55 different groups. Volunteer hours during the event were approximately 4950 - just amazing.
Some other statistics – our barbecue staff cooked 532 kg of sausages, 286 kg steak, used 232 kg onions, 600 loaves of bread. More than 12,000 items of glow products were sold. Christmas Raffle tickets totalled 6250 and ice creams – well our volunteers were kept busy as this year was especially hot on some nights. Our balloon blowers filled more than 12,000 balloons for balloon shapes and our face painters lost count of the number of faces painted. Christmas cake sales also were high.
Our handover of funds to the beneficiaries will held at a special function in February.
Planning has started for the 2019 event which will be the 17th year of the event and the 12th anniversary under our club’s management.
Again, thank you to everyone who has supported our event and allowed us to run an extremely successful Toowoomba’s Christmas Wonderland for 2018. See you at the lights in December 2019.
FIONA ROBERTS, Lions Club of Toowoomba West president
WONDERFUL news again for the Toowoomba region’s businesses with the record number of tourists.
But recent headlines again raise the question about the need for two tourism bodies in the area and why? It would be expected that the responsibility of a body would be the promotion of the region with professional campaigns and to identify the benefits to business in the region, and also open the doors to visitors offering rural experiences not found in coastal hot spots.
If the tourism stakeholders can’t see eye to eye to sit around one board table with similar hopes for the region, does that not send a mixed message to the community?
With the two tourism bodies there must come a financial duplication of expenses – wages, rent, vehicles etc…. and all that keeps a business on track. Is that necessary?
Come on team Toowoomba with tourism bodies under one banner. Why not?