CHRISTMAS is less than three weeks away and already Casterton has been treated to a busy weekend of family fun, in readiness for the big day on December 25 when the man in red officially visits the district.The build-up to the Christmas period began on Friday night with the annual Christmas light-up night organised by the Casterton Business and Tourism Association. Henty St was closed at 5.30pm to allow families the freedom of the CBD to do some late-night shopping; see Santa Claus; buy some yummy food from the various stalls; take a ride on the Lions train; jump on the jumping castle; slide down the giant slider; and to view the decorated windows in most of the shops. The evening finished at 9.30pm with a stunning fireworks display. Then on Saturday, the action turned to Merino for the second annual Merino Community Festival at the recreation reserve. Once again the weather was kind to organisers and a large crowd turned out for an afternoon of fun for all ages. The highlight of the day was Nathan Fidler’s epic eight-hour shear-a-thon. He started at 7-30am and sheared for eight hours straight with just a few intermittent breaks for refreshments. It was a mammoth task; he averaged more than 100 sheep an hour during the day, and one that netted a tidy sum for the Stroke Foundation The other highlight was the Whip Industries mini-bike riders who performed three times during the course of the afternoon and showed why they are considered the top performers in their field with some amazing stunts. There were lots of stalls and entertainment and a great day out for the family.