Bumper crowds turn out for Christmas Festival

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Last Updated: 26 Nov 2019 4:19pm

Record numbers of people gathered in Tonbridge to enjoy this year’s Christmas Festival, culminating in the switch-on of the town’s festive 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 22, Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 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 11,000 people came to the town to enjoy musical entertainment, fun and the official Christmas light switch-on – that’s the highest attendance in the history of the festival.

Performances started with the TS Brilliant Reunion Band, marching through the High Street to get the Festival underway. During the afternoon, revellers were treated to a wonderful mix of on-stage entertainment featuring Razzamatazz Theatre School, Lubbock & the Lanterns, Tonbridge Community Singers, The Patinas Band 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.

The cast from Tunbridge Wells pantomime Peter Pan and Tonbridge Lions pantomime Queen of Hearts paraded through the High Street and took to the stage during the day.  Later, cheers filled the air as Mayor of Tonbridge and Malling, Cllr Jill Anderson switched on the Christmas lights and Tonbridge lit up with a dazzling display.  More musical entertainment followed and then the cheering crowds gathered around the Big Bridge and in River Walk for the fabulous firework finale over Tonbridge Castle.

Phil Higgins, President of Tonbridge Rotary Club, says: “As always, the Christmas festival gave a fabulous start to this joyous season!  The town really came together to enjoy the abundance of cheer and community spirit giving visitors a great insight into the vibrant atmosphere of this town. 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 Jill Anderson, adds: “Once again we had a wonderful turnout for the Christmas Festival and there was a very festive atmosphere around the town, made merrier by the lovely Christmas lights. Tonbridge Rotary Club has surpassed themselves once again by organising such a fantastic weekend of festivities and our thanks go to them and to all of the individuals and groups who helped to make the event such a wonderful 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.