SCHOOL students from across the Hastings are putting the last minute touches on their floats for the annual Countdown to Christmas street parade on Thursday (November 28).
The street parade kicks off with the popular mascot race at 5.30pm down Horton Street and entertainment on the Town Green.
The lighting of the town Christmas tree by Mayor Peta Pinson will follow the parade at 8pm.
The decision to cancel this year's Christmas fireworks because of safety concerns resulting from recent bushfires has drawn praise from students representing the Hastings Valley Community of Schools (HVCS).
Local sponsor Infrabuild will donate the cost of the fireworks to local Rural Fire Service (RFS) crews.
Student Jazmin Bell from Hastings Secondary College said the fireworks change is the right thing to do for the community.
"I think it's cool that the cost (sponsorship) of the fireworks is being donated to firefighters," she said.
"Just to look at what the firefighters have been going through, you've just got to help out anyway you can.
"They all have families and kids at home waiting for them while they are trying to save people's lives. I think it's stupid that some people are complaining about not having fireworks.
"The parade is pretty cool and it will go on without fireworks. It feels good that I've played a part in making the float for the parade."
Representatives from each HVCS school will march in the parade alongside the Santa House float, made by woodworking and STEM academy students.
Hastings Secondary College year 12 student Kingslee Marks, who is competing in the Mascot Race down Horton Street at 5.30pm, said the parade is a heart-warming annual event for everyone.
"I think it's a really, really nice gesture to donate the cost of the fireworks towards a good cause," she said.
"We have fireworks everywhere, all year round so it's definitely a really great gesture.
"I have watched the parade before but I haven't take part until this year, so that is exciting and new for me.
"I remember seeing all of the people in Port Macquarie on floats, people dressed up and getting in the Christmas spirit."
At its December meeting, council will make a decision on whether to proceed with the New Year's Eve fireworks.
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