Families savour Melton’s three days of Christmas magic

Mayor Pru Chandler switches on the lights with pantomime cast and dignitaries PHOTO: Tim Williams
Mayor Pru Chandler switches on the lights with pantomime cast and dignitaries PHOTO: Tim Williams
0
Have your say

The Christmas lights switch-on event is always the stand-out attraction at the end of November for the town, and this year was no different.

Families flooded into the Market Place on Friday night to watch the fireworks which signified the start of Melton’s Victorian Christmas Weekend.

The lights go on with a bang PHOTO: Tim Williams

The lights go on with a bang PHOTO: Tim Williams

The Christmas lights were switched on with flair by Ricky Groves and Josephine Sherlock, actors in Melton Theatre’s Aladdin Christmas pantomime, and the Mayor of Melton, Councillor Pru Chandler.

People were able to do some late night shopping along King Street, and there were more stalls set-up than ever selling craft products and festive gifts.

Funfair rides were positioned all around and Santa was brought to his Grotto by Trumpton, and was in residence throughout the weekend with a huge sack of Christmas gifts for children.

The lead organiser of this year’s fantastic Melton Victorian Christmas Fayre said the event received loads of support and lovely comments.

The town centre glows with festive cheer PHOTO: Tim Williams

The town centre glows with festive cheer PHOTO: Tim Williams

Sharon Astill said: “Many visitors got into the spirit of the event, which has been a crowd-puller for many years, by taking the opportunity to dress up in Dickensian-style clothing.

“On Sunday we had 23 coaches park up and retailers reported takings were high. Shops with some amazing festive windows were busy, and there were some amazing singers who performed on stage.

“The market went further down Sherrard Street and Nottingham Street than ever before and Queen Victoria, aka Rita Clews, and her consort Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, aka her husband Frank, from Devon, were around posing for photographs and making sure things were to their satisfaction.”

Other attractions included street entertainers, Shire horses, bird of prey and Morris dancers.

Fireworks at the Christmas lights switch-on event PHOTO: Jan Murzydlo

Fireworks at the Christmas lights switch-on event PHOTO: Jan Murzydlo

Sharon added: “All in all it went phenomenally well.

“For the Victorian Christmas Fayre to be taken forward and keep growing everybody, community groups, businesses and the council must work together to keep putting Melton on the map!”

Something else on, and new this year, was the Christmas Fair, in the Exhibition Hall, at the livestock market, on Saturday.

There was seasonal stalls, children’s activities, animals, a snow machine, a brass band, choir and festive food and drink to buy.

Redmile Primary School entertain on stage PHOTO: Tim Williams

Redmile Primary School entertain on stage PHOTO: Tim Williams

Organiser Annaleise Burrows said: “We ran this alongside our horse sale and opening of Round Corner Brewing. There were 48 tables in the Exhibition Hall and 27 stalls in the Farmers Market.

“It was free entry and free parking and I had good feedback from both traders and customers.

“It’s not until events like this happen that it feels like Christmas.

“Next year I want it to be bigger and better.”

Thousands of people visited St Mary’s Church over the weekend to see beautifully decorated Christmas trees of all shapes and sizes and on a wide range of themes.

The event proved a huge success as usual and youngsters enjoyed looking at all the trees and lights and taking part in a fun quiz devised by Brian Wray in which they had to find the names of 12 Brussels sprouts. They were also able to take some reindeer food away with them courtesy of Bentons estate agents.

Melton's firefighters and Trumpton arrive in the Market Place PHOTO: Tim Williams

Melton's firefighters and Trumpton arrive in the Market Place PHOTO: Tim Williams

The church was packed for the Carols Amongst the Trees Service on Saturday night, in which Team Parish Rector, the Rev Kevin Ashby, told the story of The Silly (sleepy) Shepherd, and for the Carols of Praise Service on Sunday when Hathern Band played.

People came from all over the country - and other countries- to view the amazing displays on show in the refurbished Grade I Listed building.

One tree which proved very popular at the festival was the In Loving Remembrance one brought in by Central England Co-operative Funeral Care. By the end of Monday (December 3) it was estimated that more than 2,000 In Loving Memory stars had been written on and then placed on the tree. Some people ventured into church just to put a star on the tree and to write a message of remembrance to a loved one.

Although the Christmas Tree Festival ended today, this tree will remain in church until January 6 next year.

Christmas shoppers filled the streets all weekend PHOTO: Tim Williams

Christmas shoppers filled the streets all weekend PHOTO: Tim Williams

Tipsy Gemma Ruigrok of Witham Wines is apprehended by Victorian policemen Adam Cockerill and Jed Jaggard PHOTO: Tim Williams

Tipsy Gemma Ruigrok of Witham Wines is apprehended by Victorian policemen Adam Cockerill and Jed Jaggard PHOTO: Tim Williams

Steam was the attraction in Windsor Street PHOTO: Tim Williams

Steam was the attraction in Windsor Street PHOTO: Tim Williams

Stalls at the Market Christmas Fair PHOTO: Tim Williams

Stalls at the Market Christmas Fair PHOTO: Tim Williams

St Mary's Church is full of trees once again PHOTO: Tim Williams

St Mary's Church is full of trees once again PHOTO: Tim Williams