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Wincanton Christmas Extravaganza Pulls the Crowds Again

Monday 7 December 2015, 23:33
By John Smith

Preparation for last Friday’s Extravaganza started soon after the 2014 event with Chief Elf, Sarah Gibson of Sarah Gibson Optometrist putting a new team together to plan and execute the event.

For the first time the event in 2015 started with a children’s lantern procession. For safety reasons LED lights were used instead of real candles, and these were made available from the schools and at Sarah's shop at Market Place. The result was well appreciated by all as the procession made its way down High Street, led by Father Christmas himself.

At Market Place, whilst Father Christmas was getting ready in his grotto, the procession of children and adults joined a large crowd for carol singing. Led by local vicar Nigel Feaver, the sing-along was accompanied by musicians and singers from King Arthur’s and Wincanton Primary Schools.

Santa's Grotto, Wincanton Baptist Church hallSanta's Grotto interior

In advance of Santa's arrival, Anna, owner of Preview in the High Street, took over the Baptist Church hall with her team to build and decorate the grotto, ready for the queues of excited children. Santa was very appreciative, and especially enjoyed the rocking chair.

He was as popular as ever, with a long queue forming from the Grotto in the Baptist Church hall, out into Mill Street. To help keep Santa's visitors warm the pastor and Church members were on hand, providing free coffee and hot chocolate to mums and dads waiting in the queue.

The Town Team, in partnership with the Town Council and Wincanton Chamber, engaged local artist Zac Greening as Artistic Director to introduce new and innovative Christmas lighting to the town. Special units were installed to project festive animations onto the walls of some buildings. The lighting was switched on in time for the Extravaganza, creating a striking effect and causing visitors to stop and gaze.

Carols around the treeKing Arthur's School musicians

The mix of traditional illuminated trees and modern laser lighting has clearly been a big success, putting Wincanton ahead of many surrounding towns.

The Dolphin Hotel had a jazz band performing in the courtyard. Their music flowed out from the courtyard onto the High Street. At the lower end of the road closure, the Castle Cary Majorettes gave a sterling performance to a large crowd.

Jazz band at the Dolphin HotelEnthusiastic carol singing

Chief Elf Sarah was ably supported by fellow elves, Suzy Turner, Penny Ashton, Karen Russell, Rachel Humphries, Gary Harvey and Keith Brown. Together they planned and executed the event. They were very grateful to The Nog for allowing them to turn a corner of the pub into an impromptu Elf workshop, and to Redfearn's for hosting the Elf Boardroom, where the team hatched new ideas and a fresh approach. On the night Elf HQ was manned by the staff at Sarah Gibson Optometrist.

Sarah and the team wish to thank all who helped to make this year’s event possible, including the High Street traders, King Arthur's School, Wincanton Primary School, Our Lady's Primary School, The Men's Shed, Churches Together, Royal British Legion Riders, Wincanton Print, Yeovil Hire Company, Wincanton Baptist Church, Bradsons Event Services, Wincanton Post Office, Otter Nurseries, and Kellaway Building Services. The hard working elves would also like to thank Redfearns for feeding them.

Turtle window display at The Green DragonWincanton Christmas Tree on the night of the 2015 extravaganza

If anyone has taken images of the evening please e-mail them to .




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