By Connor Steel
FAREHAM BOROUGH COUNCIL are celebrating their hugely successful Christmas Lights Switch-on events held this weekend, which drew thousands of residents to the town centre to enjoy a day of free activities and entertainment based upon the popular Nutcracker Story written by E.T.A. Hoffmann back in the 19th century.
Free activities started at 10am and largely focused on the pedestrianised areas of West Street; many visitors enjoying the opportunity to explore festive gift stalls, face paints and funfair rides. The Grinch further created enormous mischief within the shopping centre as Father Christmas himself made an impressive appearance.
Meanwhile street entertainment and main stage performances delighted shoppers throughout; chilly weather conditions further adding to the winter feeling. Darkness fell as the Mayor and Mayoress of Fareham did the honours of switching a button to enlighten Fareham’s festive lights, a moment that was met with loud cheers.
Many Globe readers were in attendance throughout this event and one commented: “It was amazing to see Fareham so busy and the community have come out in force. Following recent months and a tougher winter ahead it was a positive atmosphere; everybody had smiles over their faces and it was a delight to be part of.”
One particular highlight was the launch of the Council’s Nutcracker Trail within the Fareham shopping centre, with children encouraged to find Nutcrackers within shop windows. Each of them features an individual letter and participants must collect all ten of them before unscrambling the secret festive word linking to Christmas.
The activity is completely free and printable trail sheets can be found at Fareham Library, whilst residents are further invited to download the same file online here. All entries must be received by December 17 to be fully considered and should be placed in designated boxes, which can be found at the Fareham Library entrance.
Correct entries will be eligible to join a special prize draw, with all winners contacted directly in the week from December 18 and further announced via social media. Prizes include free swim sessions, soft play access, a cream tea for families of four, a chocolate hamper worth £45 and a voucher priced at £50 for Slug & Lettuce.
Executive Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Cllr Seán Woodward, commented: “It was fantastic to see so many people in Fareham throughout the (whole) day. This event is important for our community as it not only draws people into the town centre for some low-cost family fun, but it also helps support many local traders.”
He further thanked council staff “as well as suppliers, community groups & performers involved for making it an event to remember. A special thanks goes to all the event sponsors: The Agency UK, M Coghlan funeral directors & Fareham Shopping Centre for making our street entertainers, Christmas tree and trail possible.”
The leader finished by stating: “Now that the Christmas lights are shining, I encourage our residents to help support their local businesses by completing their Christmas shopping in Fareham. Remember to get your children involved in the fantastic Nutcracker Trail to win yourself an early Christmas present (prize draws).”
More photographs from the Christmas Lights Switch On are available to see here, whilst further information on the Nutcracker Trail can be read by visiting the council website link: www.fareham.gov.uk/NutcrackerTrail
PICTURED BY FAREHAM BOROUGH COUNCIL: Thousands of residents enjoy the festive atmosphere as Christmas Lights are turned on in town centre after a day of Nutcracker themed entertainment for shoppers.