A Christmas nativity scene will come alive in Tauranga this weekend before the community is invited to remember the reason for the season.

Carols on the Waterfront will be held at the Edgewater Fan (opposite Starbucks) on Sunday to mark Christmas among the community.

This will be the event's fifth year organised by Tauranga churches Holy Trinity Church, St Mary's the Immaculate, St Peter's Presbyterian, Central Baptist, the Salvation Army and St Enoch's Presbyterian.

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Chief organiser Rev Dr Dale Williamson said they previously had about 1000 people join in the carols and she was praying for fine weather to let that happen again.

"It's just a fun, family event that everyone of all ages can take part in," she said.

Children, in particular, are invited to dress as angels or shepherds and join a procession along The Strand before the event officially begins.

The group includes child versions of Mary riding a donkey and Joseph and will lead the way to the carols, starting at the west end of The Strand at 5.10pm.

"Yes, there will be a donkey," she said.

The group will walk along The Strand, asking to be let into four or five bars and restaurants only to be told 'there's no room'. The group will continue to the waterfront, where students from Aquinas College will perform a narrative before carols begin.

"It's very traditional. People will know what to expect," Rev Dr Williamson said.

Carol sheets will be available at the event, and people are invited to bring their own carols and friends and family.

Tauranga City Council, Legacy Trust, and Downtown Tauranga have helped the church organise the event this year.

"It has been a real collaborative effort," Rev Dr Williamson said.

"It's a community event that tells the story very simply, with a bit of fun."

A choir and the Salvation Army will lead the carols.

Rev Dr Williamson said it was a special way to remember the story of Christmas.

The details

What:

Carols on the Waterfront

When:

5.30pm Sunday, December 10

Where:

Nativity procession begins outside the waka on The Strand before ended up at Edgewater Fan (opposite Starbucks) on the waterfront for carols.

Cost:

Free

What you need to know:

Bring carol music if you have it, and something to put on if it gets cold.