As well as the Holly King and Ivy Queen there were magical fairies, and singing townsfolk in the High Street at the Yuletide Festival on 26 November.
Presented by Christchurch BID, the Yuletide Parade and Christmas Light Switch-On featured the internationally renowned, Christchurch-based, Gobbledegook Theatre Company who brought the Holly King, Ivy Queen, and the Lord of Misrule, along with their entourage of over 20 performers to get everyone in the Christmas spirit.
The procession included Mad4Dance, Highcliffe Charity Players, and Funky Little Choir all performing during the parade. The theatrical procession joined with the Mayor of Christchurch to perform the “spell” to turn on the Christmas lights.
“The BID has thoroughly enjoyed funding festivities in Christchurch this year as well as working alongside Christchurch Chamber, Christchurch Town Council, Christchurch Rotary, BCP Council and our wonderful sponsors who provided music, theatre, arts and crafts,” said Christina Pengelly, manager of Christchurch BID, adding. “We hope all the locals and visitors enjoyed the Yuletide Procession, the Light Switch-On and the covered marquee in Saxon Square which will be hosting entertainment during December.”
Mandy Polkey, event manager of Stir! Events said: “This year we wanted to bring a new folk ritual and story to the annual Christmas light turn on in Christchurch. With a medieval fairy court, dancers, singers, and beautiful folk music performed by the Hummingbird band, we managed to create a real sense of community Christmas cheer.
“Fabulous sea shanties and Irish tunes were performed by Tweed in Bourbon and the Funky Little Choir sang songs which raised spirits in the rainy weather. Watching the Christchurch Saxon Rugby Team carrying the Yule log was very entertaining as well.”
The Yuletide festivities included a Yuletide Market along one side of the High Street with a stage for music and entertainment supported by Jay Rachet from Hot Radio near the Fountain Roundabout, as well as workshops, storytelling, and face painting.
There was plenty of food and drinks on offer from local providers. Despite the rain, many people gathered by the Bargates Christmas tree singing carols and enjoying mince pies and hot mulled wine before the Yuletide procession.
Father Christmas even made an appearance, giving out sweets to the children. Following the parade, the Rev’d Canon Charles Stewart from The Priory gave a speech and invited everyone to celebrate the beginning of Advent at the Priory.
Mandy Polkey added: “Christchurch residents went all out, wearing traditional greens, browns, hats and headdresses decorated with seasonal flowers and foliage. We wanted to take inspiration from the past – and the nature in our local area– whilst encouraging people to think about how to be good ancestors and look after the beautiful area we live in.”
Lots of fabulous entertainment will be provided over the festive period in Saxon Square, such as the Living Snow Globe on 15 December, Christchurch Music Centre on the 3 December and the Christchurch & District Band performing on the 10 December. Rotary Christchurch is also presenting its Living Advent Calendar with performances dotted around Christchurch town.
Check out www.yuletidefestival.co.uk for dates and times.
Yuletide in Christchurch was presented by Christchurch BID in association with Christchurch Town Council, Stir! Events, The Ducking Stool Tearooms, Christchurch Chamber of Trade and Commerce, and Rotary Christchurch.
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