Chipping Sodbury Victorian Evening gets Christmas off to successful start

Gazette Series: Chipping Sodbury Mayor Cllr Wendy Whittle with her husband Paul at the Victiorian Evening Chipping Sodbury Mayor Cllr Wendy Whittle with her husband Paul at the Victiorian Evening

THOUSANDS of families descended on Chipping Sodbury on Friday for a Victorian start to Christmas.

The resurrected annual Victorian Evening traditionally marks the start of the town’s countdown to Christmas with the arrival of Santa in his sleigh, charity street stalls, funfair rides and entertainment on a stage in Broad Street.

As mulled wine flowed, chestnuts roasted and families tucked into sizzling burgers and sausages cooked outside some High Street eateries and on charity barbecues, ‘snow’ created a magical atmosphere as it covered the medieval High Street.

Organisers said the event’s huge success was down to mild weather and plenty of attractions.

Victorian Day committee chairman Brian Hardy said: “People started to arrive in large numbers by 5.30pm as the entertainment on the main stage started along with Alfredo the Clown and Punch and Judy who entertained children and adults alike on the second stage in the High Street.

“Many of the local shops remained open with many of the staff dressed in Victorian dress as did the stallholders that added to the spirit and colour of the occasion.”

He said this year had been the most successful Victorian Evening yet.

“The organising committee made up with representatives from the Festival Committee, the Lions Club, the Rotary Club and local traders are delighted with the way the event went and consider it to be the best to date and certainly the best attended one day event in Chipping Sodbury this year,” added Mr Hardy.

“Early reports indicate that all of the stalls done very well with many selling out and local traders reported very brisk business and significant footfall through their doors. Charity stalls also reported they had a profitable evening raising much-needed funds.”

Children from The Ridge, Raysfield Infants and Junior and St John’s Mead schools sang carols on the main stage in Broad Street under the afternoon’s winter sunshine.

Traction engines puffed out smoke and a model railway transported children down Wickwar Road towards St John’s Church Centre where Santa’s grotto featured a Gromit statue.

Children enjoyed a big wheel, helter skelter and hall of mirrors while Bristol Pipers, Yate Choral Society and Swindon band Josie and the Outlaws were among a line-up of festive entertainment.

Said Mr Hardy: “The committee would like to thank all of the entertainers who helped make the event, to the local traders who stayed open and the many stall holders.

“A special thank you goes to the many volunteers from the Lions and Rotary Club and others who gave their time to help the committee and to the traders and other organisations who gave donations to help cover the cost of the event.

“But the biggest thank you goes to the thousands of people who supported the Victorian Day by turning up and creating the atmosphere and making it such an enjoyable day without whom it would have been a very quiet and lonely day.”

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