It is hoped this year’s Sunbury StreetLife Festival will attract people to the streets of Sunbury and bolster support for local businesses.

The free event next month has been planned to help grow, acknowledge and support businesses as owners face a difficult retail period.

Festival organiser Sharyn Snook said the festivities on O’Shanassy Street, as part of the fifth StreetLife Festival, would provide entertainment for all the family.

In addition to the 120 stalls, Wild Action’s Chris Humfreys will visit with his wildlife collection. There will also be live performances, mini golf and plenty of food.

Ms Snook said the event was “about breathing life back into O’Shanassy Street”.

The local business owner said she thought retail was struggling everywhere, but particularly in Sunbury.

“Businesses are struggling because rent’s tough and they need the sales, which they don’t get if people go to Watergardens or elsewhere,” she said.

More than 100 businesses have just signed on to a newly-introduced Business Expansion and Retention Program, which will interview staff in the next two months to explore ways to reignite the shopping precinct.

The Municipal Association of Victoria program was introduced to Sunbury in August after Sunbury Business Association treasurer and business owner Sylvia Unferdorben pushed for retail reform.

At the time, Ms Unferdorben told Star Weekly she had been in Sunbury since 1983 and had never before seen so many closed shops in the town centre.

She said she had not seen any improvement in the retail precinct in the past two months.

The Sunbury StreetLife Festival will be held on Sunday, November 19, from 10am-3pm on O’Shanassy Street.