Last Updated: 27 Nov 2018 3:58pm
Christmas officially arrived in Tonbridge this weekend as more people than ever gathered in the town to enjoy three days of festive entertainment at the annual Tonbridge Christmas Festival, culminating in the switch-on of the town’s new Christmas lights.
This year’s event, which was organised by Tonbridge Rotary Club with support from Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, took place over three days on Friday 23, Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 November.
The celebrations began with a Family Fun Fair in Sovereign Way Mid car park on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Traditional children’s rides, side shows, arcades, toffee apples and candy floss brought the town to life with thrills, laughter and smiles all round.
On Sunday, more than 10,000 people came to the town to enjoy musical entertainment, fun and the official switching on of the town’s new Christmas lights – that’s the highest attendance in the history of the festival. During the afternoon, revellers were treated to a wonderful mix of on-stage entertainment featuring Razzamatazz Theatre School, Charlotte Lubbock, Tonbridge Community Singers and Roxxon, all of whom performed free of charge. Local businesses and charities set up stalls offering a variety of festive and local produce in the High Street.
At 5pm the Mayor of Tonbridge and Malling, Cllr Pam Bates, took to the stage alongside stars from the Angel Centre Pantomime – ‘Snow White’, to switch on the brand new Christmas lights. Cheers filled the air as the lights lit up Tonbridge with a dazzling display of scroll and star crossing displays; column-mounted chandelier sparkle displays and column-mounted white scroll star design. More musical entertainment followed the light switch on and then, at 6pm, the cheering crowds gathered around the Big Bridge and in River Walk for the fabulous firework finale over Tonbridge Castle.
Sonia Williams, President of Tonbridge Rotary Club, says: “This year’s festival has brought the community of Tonbridge together to enjoy a fabulous start to the festive season! The atmosphere in the town over the past few days has been one of festive cheer and community spirit and was wonderful to experience. A huge thanks to the thousands of people who attended and the amazing support of all of the sponsors, volunteers, and everyone who took part.”
Mayor of Tonbridge and Malling, Cllr Pam Bates, adds: “The new Christmas lights look really magical, and the switch-on, the Festival and the Fireworks finale really signal that Christmas has begun for the people of Tonbridge! Well done to the Tonbridge Rotary Club for doing such a fantastic job again this year and huge thanks to all the individuals and groups who helped to make the event such a success. I would like to wish all residents and visitors a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
This year’s festival was organised by The Rotary Club of Tonbridge with support from Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, Times of Tonbridge, Nick Shaw’s Leisure, local businesses and community groups.