THE countdown to Christmas kicked up a notch over the weekend as more than 15,000 people packed into Speers Point Park to celebrate Lake Mac Carols.
Golden Guitar-winner Troy Kemp, The Voice finalists Sarah De Bono and Lara D and the Pacific Harmony Choir sang festive classics and Santa made an appearance.
The council had to abandon its plans for a firework finale due to bushfire and drought conditions.
The council said Mayor Kay Fraser's announcement that she planned to table a Mayoral Minute on Monday calling for the $4500 to be donated to drought-affected families in the Upper Hunter was met by cheers and applause.
Cr Fraser said the "overwhelming support" for the decision "demonstrates our community's selflessness and ability to look at the bigger picture".