Rotorua Lakes Council and the Salvation Army are teaming up again this year and combining today's annual tree-lighting event with the Christmas can drive.
The Sallies and The Hits radio station will be collecting non-perishable food donations for this year's Daily Post Salvation Army Food Bank Christmas Appeal.
People are encouraged to bring along a can to help families in need this Christmas and leave it at The Hits collection point near the tree.
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Rotorua Salvation Army Lieutenant Ralph Overbye said last year the Sallies found combining the can drive with the tree-lighting event meant more participation from the public.
"We found that it was a lot of fun last year.
"We did 125 Christmas hampers but the food that we collect from the Christmas appeal lasts well into the new year. So we were still handing out that food in October sort of thing, so it's not just for Christmas," Overbye said.
Event organiser Mandy Godo said last year about 200 people gathered around the tree for the lighting and entertainment and council hoped night market-goers and others would join them again for the tree-lighting tonight.
"Given there will be a gathering of people, we're taking the opportunity to support a good local cause at the same time and will collect items for this year's Daily Post Salvation Army Food Bank Christmas Appeal at [Thursday's]tree-lighting ceremony, as we did last year," Godo said.
Elisha Hulton and the Te Ao Marama choir will entertain the crowd from 7pm to 7.20pm, followed by the Salvation Army Band until about 7.40pm and there will be collection points under the tree for donations to the appeal.
Visitors and locals will be able to enjoy the offerings of the Rotorua Night Market as well as festive entertainment.