Glen Innes' Christmas markets on Thursday are a community event

Glen Innes' Christmas celebrations will make Thursday a magical evening for young and old.

Visitors can enjoy Christmas markets, Red Cross's celebrated Christmas tree exhibition, and even meet Santa.

"The night is a community initiative to bring the community together during a testing time and feel the cheer of Christmas," Rhonda Bombell and Sal Molesworth from the Visitor Information Centre said.

Town Hall Square, Grey Street, will become a Yuletide marketplace - an excellent opportunity to buy Christmas gifts and support local businesses.

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MIC Antlers will sell fire tools, and cheese and pâté knives - specialist gifts with deer antler handles; and Anne E's Brews her artisan jams and chutneys. Community stalwart community stalwart the Super Strawberry will also be there. Other items for sale include woodwork, jewellery, toys, and sweets.

A mobile coffee and food van will supply beef rolls and traditional cookery; and Quota will sell Christmas treats.

Those after stronger Christmas spirits can enjoy Glen Gowrie Distillery's potato vodka, gin, and liqueurs, or 2 Wild Souls' mead made from local honey.

Mayor Carol Sparks will turn on the Christmas lights at 8.15pm, followed by entertainment from local schools and the Jacaranda Highland Dancers.

Red Cross's Christmas tree exhibition will open that night, a day earlier than the usual Friday, to be part of the festivities.

The 19th Christmas tree exhibition features about 35 entries. Just about everybody under the sun has entered a tree, organiser Jo Cameron said: lots of school children, including outlying schools and the Glen Innes High School's disabled class; business organisations; and government departments like Youth Booth and the library.

"It's always exceedingly popular," Ms Cameron said. "Everybody comes in to see the tree that one of their relations has helped make; all the grannies and the aunties and the uncles come in to look at their grandchildren or whatever's entries."

The exhibition is the Glen Innes branch's major fundraiser. This year, Ms Cameron said, the branch has given considerable funds to drought relief, and will put on Christmas parties for villages like Red Range, Deepwater, Welling Grove, and Ben Lomond.

All entries must be in by 4.30pm on Thursday, and will be on display for a whole week until Saturday, December 6.

Santa will also appear at the Shop in Glen, courtesy of the Rotary Club of Glen Innes. Free to see Santa; $9.50 for a photo - proceeds to go to charity.

The first winners of the Spend in Glen competition will also be drawn. This promotion gives the public a chance to win 8 x $250 cash cards to be spent in town, and a $500 jackpot in four draws between Thursday night and December 21.

Local shops will also be open late.