Put on some shorts, slap on sunscreen, grab your sunnies and celebrate a Kiwi Christmas.

Whangārei's annual Christmas Festival is back again on Saturday with about 10,000 people expected to pack Northland Events Centre if the weather is good.

Petra Gray, Whangārei District Council community events co-ordinator, said there are lots of Kiwi Christmas-themed activities planned.

"Christmas is in summer for us so we thought we would embrace that and go for a Kiwi Christmas theme this year.

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"We're going to have a beach volleyball set up with blow-up beach balls of all different sizes and colours. It will be nice and festive and colourful so people can come along and have a go at that," she said.

The free event will include obstacle courses for different ages, bouncy castles, face painting, a merry-go-round, and an interactive art zone.

Gray said stage entertainment would include the Modern Maori Quartet, which is headlining the event, Remininse Soul, a duo out of the band AO8 from Kamo High School, Blackout Cheerleading, Empire Dance Studio, and the Salvation Army Band and more.

Santa Claus will again make a special appearance, and will arrive in style, Gray said.

A variety of food will be available for sale. Picnics are allowed but people must observe a ban on alcohol, glass bottles, cans and takeaways.

The Salvation Army Whangārei gives out about 250 Christmas hampers to families who are struggling each year.

The hamper contains a chicken and veges for Christmas dinner, chips and dips, dessert, non-alcoholic drinks, and treats such as chocolate biscuits and nuts.

The army says their greatest needs are Christmas puddings, jellies, fancy biscuits, lollies or chocolates, potato chips, nuts, onion soup, reduced cream and tinned fruit.

Along with the hampers the Salvation Army also distributes Christmas presents to children of the families in need and has made a plea for more gifts for teens.

Presents from the public can be placed under the giant Christmas tree.

The event starts at the family friendly time of 5pm, with gates opening an hour earlier, and will end with a fireworks display.