By Connor Steel
FAREHAM BOROUGH COUNCIL have thanked thousands of local residents who attended the 2023 ‘Christmas Lights Switch On’ event held through Saturday afternoon (November 18), which had to be significantly reduced at short notice due to safety concerns with the Met Office forecasting heavy rain showers and strong winds of 35mph across the area.
The bad weather meant that it was “impossible” for stall holders and fun-fair rides to run as planned; meaning that most of the outdoor activities didn’t go ahead. Councillors stated that the event couldn’t have been postponed for a new date as suppliers and store holders had pre-booked activities in the festive period, with a press update issued late on Friday.
But this did not stop thousands of residents who began to converge on West Street from around 3pm, where they were entertained by a number of ‘street entertainers’ on the pedestrianised areas. This was followed by the limited variety of live music displays that were also performed at a special podium, which built up to the showpiece of the day at 5:30pm.
This saw the Mayor and Mayoress of Fareham in attendance as the Christmas Lights were switched on, alongside this summer’s colouring competition winner. It was a moment that was met by cheers and gasps of joy as West Street was shining with new decorations, which are said to be more energy efficient and produces a “warmer feeling” for residents.
Indoor activities went ahead as planned and this led to many social media users asking about the possibility of moving the stalls into the shopping centre’s vacant stores; given that the council owns the site. But it is believed that this would have taken more than twenty four hours to organise and a final decision was made too late on Friday to undertake this.
One Globe reader said: “It was a real shame that this event was affected by the bad weather and I think that this could have been dealt with in a different way but it was a lovely evening regardless with a brilliant festive atmosphere. I hope to return for these events next year and bring some of my family who were unable to come with me over the weekend.”
Photographs and footage can be found via this ‘Portsmouth News’ feature article published on Sunday (November 19), which also includes quotes from the Fareham Mayor Cllr Fred Birkett and the CEO of Toob (who sponsored this event).
PICTURED BY FAREHAM BOROUGH COUNCIL: Bandstand lights up for Christmas at community event on Saturday.