Festive cheer was in the air as Rotorua gathered to enjoy the atmosphere of carols and candlelight.

The annual Carols by Candlelight was held at Kuirau Park last night.

The programme featured soloist and choir conductor Elisha Hulton, the Rotorua Symphonic Band, the Malfroy Primary School Choir, and the Te Ao Intermediate Choir, the Amjazz Dance Studio dancers, and children's entertainment provided by the Go Bananas song and dance group.

Carols director and Rotorua East Lions Club member Wayne Hall up to 2000 were expected to attend.

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"It's a family occasion at Christmas and a chance to showcase pieces by a lot of the musical talent in our city.

"It's great to see families all coming together and the kids having a lot of fun."

He said the event usually raised about $1500 for the charity of choice, which this year was the Hospital Chaplaincy Trust.

Sisters Makayla, 5, and Honor Sears, 7, said they enjoyed singing carols with the band.

Honor's favourite was Deck the Halls, while Makayla's was Must Be Santa.

They attended with their grandmother and grandfather.

Grandfather Terry Sturley said the sisters had come over from Brisbane for the school holidays and had been "over the moon" about the event.

Rotorua's Sandy Barnett was also there with family.

"It's a great event for Rotorua because it reminds you of what Christmas is all about and I love when people come together and sing.

"It's lovely because that is what Christmas is all about - family, friends and members of the public getting together."