WHAT'S ON

Cessnock's Australia Day ceremony to be held at Cessnock Performing Arts Centre

EVENT: Cessnock mayor Bob Pynsent and Cessnock Performing Arts Centre manager Vicki Sienczuk.
EVENT: Cessnock mayor Bob Pynsent and Cessnock Performing Arts Centre manager Vicki Sienczuk.

Cessnock Performing Arts Centre will be abuzz with activity next weekend as the hub of the city's Australia Day celebrations.

The celebrations start on Friday, January 24 with a free screening of the Australian classic, Muriel's Wedding, at 6.30pm.

Then on Sunday, January 26, the performing arts centre will - for the first time - host Cessnock's Australia Day citizenship ceremony and awards.

The ceremony had previously been held at East Cessnock Bowling Club, drawing more than 700 people at its peak, but crowds - while still healthy - have been smaller in recent years.

"It was decided that it would be great to use a council facility that is very well-equipped for an event such as Australia Day," a council spokesperson said about the decision to move this year's ceremony to the 466-seat theatre.

Council would also like to acknowledge East Cessnock Bowling Club for its support in hosting the celebrations in the past.

A free barbecue breakfast will be held in the performing arts centre courtyard from 8am Australia Day, and the awards ceremony will start at 10am. Anyone wishing to attend is advised to arrive early as seats are expected to fill quickly.

GUEST: Singer-songwriter and radio presenter Damien Leith will be Cessnock's Australia Day ambassador.

GUEST: Singer-songwriter and radio presenter Damien Leith will be Cessnock's Australia Day ambassador.

Prominent singer-songwriter and radio host Damien Leith will be Cessnock's Australia Day ambassador.

Since winning Australian Idol in 2006, Leith has made his mark as a singer, songwriter, performer, TV and radio host and children's author. He has a studio in the Hunter Valley and recently joined the breakfast team at Muswellbrook's 98.1 Power FM.

Forty new citizens will be inducted as part of the ceremony, and Cessnock's Australia Day award winners will be announced.

After the official proceedings, sports fans are invited to join the fun at the fourth annual Mayor's Cup Twenty20 cricket match at East End Oval.

There will also be free entry at Cessnock and Branxton Pools on Australia Day from 10am to 4pm.

Cessnock mayor Bob Pynsent is looking forward to the celebrations and said it's a wonderful opportunity for all residents to get involved in a community event.

"What a fantastic few days we have planned to celebrate this great country we live in," he said.

"A citizenship ceremony on Australia Day is always extra special."

FUN: Fans on the hill at a previous Mayoral Cup. The T20 cricket match will once again take place at East End Oval.

FUN: Fans on the hill at a previous Mayoral Cup. The T20 cricket match will once again take place at East End Oval.

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