A fun fair on Wood Street, the pedestrianisation of Victoria Hill and a huge headline act are set to make the first Christmas Festival in Old Town since 2019, the biggest in its history.
The Old Town Business Association, which co-ordinates the ‘Friends of Old Town‘, will return in 2022 after two years of restrictions due to Covid. The group has already had a busy year organising two events on Wood Street over the summer: a Queen’s Jubilee event and the 8th Sausage & Ale Trail.
The Christmas Festival, which will include the formal switch-on of the Christmas Lights, is now a larger event running from 12pm-5.30pm. Visitors can expect a huge line-up of live music, and Wood Street, the area which usually hosts this event, will become a large fun fair full of family-friendly rides and stalls.
This year’s headliner, which is set to be announced soon, is rumoured to be a well-known popstar and actor who was born in Wiltshire. The currently unnamed headliner will be performing three famous tracks as well as joining Santa in switching on the lights.
Other entertainment on the day includes Swindon favourite Phoebe Maddison who got to the battle rounds of The Voice Kids, young acts like the Lawn Manor School of Dance and a Robbie Williams tribute act Marc Hopkins.
After a successful road closure application, the main stage and food and drink zone will be taking place on the top section of Victoria Hill this year, whilst Wood Street will be the home of the fun fair provided by Steven Hill.
The Christmas Festival is a result of the Old Town Business Association building a strong partnership with South Swindon Parish Council, which has taken on the job of repairing and managing the lights.
Neil Hopkins local Parish Councillor, said, “We really need to thank the Parish’s electrical contractor for work undertaken repairing the Christmas lights as they had suffered significant damage. For the past four years, the Parish Council has been delighted to sponsor the installation and take-down of Old Town Christmas lights but from this year The Parish has agreed to take on the installation themselves. This is a great event that involves the whole community and brings in many people from all over Swindon.”
The event begins the Old Town Christmas festivities as a few days later the Enchanted Gardens Light Trail, run by the Parish, returns to the Town Gardens.
This year’s event is also possible thanks to the successful launch of the Friends of Old Town Card in January.
The Friends of Old Town card scheme is designed to give Old Town users discounts at over 80 Old Town businesses. The card scheme has raised money through donations from the public as they sign up to get a card.
The association has turned to some key sponsors to help with the costs and TalkTalk, Deacons Jewellers, Future Planning (a financial planner on Devizes Road), Los Gatos tapas bar and Dominos Pizza have all ensured the event can run in this larger format.
Visitors to the event are being asked for a £1 donation per person to help with the increased costs this year and to allow investment into new lights next year. Even with the increase in energy costs, the power for the lights is being provided by Charles Harding Estate Agents.
The road closure will be in place from 6am on Sunday 27th November until 9pm and will be effective from outside The Victoria pub up to the mini roundabout where Bath Road becomes Joiner Lane. Diversions will be in place for that day and the public are encouraged to walk to the Christmas Festival if possible.
Entry points into the event include the old Museum and Art Gallery (Apsley House) on Bath Road, St Michaels Way, the pedestrian walkway from the Britannia Place car park to Wood Street, next to McColls on Victoria Hill, and also where High Street turns into the entrance to Wood Street.
Visitors are recommended to book an e-ticket via a donation on Eventbrite to ensure entry.
You can get your e-tickets here:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/old-town-christmas-festival-2022-tickets-445086825677