Feels like Christmas at the Penola Op Shop

WINTER MAGIC: Penola Op Shop volunteers Dean Burrows, Julie Stewart and Angela Clinkaberry are preparing to bring Christmas cheer early to the town for the op shop's Christmas In July Fashion Parade this Sunday. (Tyler Redway: 418188)

Tyler Redway

WINTER has become a season to celebrate for the Penola Op Shop as its upcoming Christmas in July Fashion Parade is set to capture the spirit of the winter holidays.

This year marks the first time the event will be hosted under the Christmas in July theme, coming off the back of its original run’s success in summer of 2023.

Penola Op Shop volunteer Angela Clinkaberry said the idea came from a family tradition of a Christmas dinner her parents held in July.

Ms Clinkaberry said because her family was from Yorkshire in England, they were used to having Christmas during winter instead of Australia’s summer in December.

She added her previous workplace also held similar Christmas in July themed events before she retired.

“In my old job, we used to do a Christmas in July winter ball as a fundraiser for equipment and things like that,” Ms Clinkaberry said.

“My parents are originally from Yorkshire so we always wanted a cold Christmas, which you never get here in Australia, so my mum started doing a Christmas dinner in July to keep up with that kind of tradition.

“It’s cold, it’s miserable, there are shorter days but this event is here to bring some fun into winter.”

Ms Clinkaberry said the event would be going “all-in” for the Christmas theme with decorations, a full Christmas tree as well as homemade Christmas crackers.

Ms Clinkaberry said events like this were to help boost the op shop’s public image as well as to bring some fun to the community in a difficult time.

“We had a ball doing the one last summer and we were trying to not only think of some fundraising ideas but also ideas for the op shop’s profile to keep us in people’s minds,” she said.

“There are organisations like Stand Like Stone who host all different kinds of events, so we wanted to raise our profile not quite to the level of those guys but to start building ourselves up.

“We have people who used to come to the shop once in a blue moon who are now regulars who come once every fortnight.

“We just want to keep this sort of thing happening, there was a little bit of a time where people were not so keen on this op shop, so we are just trying to bring about a little change to that to show people we are a cool place to be.”

Penola Op Shop volunteer Kath McCash said without the volunteers, events like the fashion parade would “not be possible”.

“The whole idea of it is to be fun, but we live in a community which is very generous and we have most of our clientele come from Millicent, Naracoorte or places like Mount Gambier who all come to our op shop because we have really nice stuff and we are very reasonably priced,” Ms McCash said.

“We are very lucky to have such fabulous volunteers and a fabulous community, so we are really looking forward to giving a little bit back and bringing a bit of fun to everyone.

“It’s just fun and let’s face it in this day and age, you do need a bit of fun every now and then , especially with some people who are doing it tough where an event like this can really help them out.”

The Penola Op Shop Christmas In July Fashion Parade will bring the festive cheer at the Penola Op Shop on Sunday July 14 from 12.30pm until 3pm.

Tables can be booked for the event through the Penola Op Shop’s social media pages.