The festive crowds turned out in force for the Abingdon Christmas Extravaganza yesterday. The parade set off up Stert Street at 11.45am led by a bagpipe band, and complete with stiltwalker, Father Christmas, Cinderella characters, Town Councillors, Morris Dancers, Air Cadets, majorettes …and a donkey.
The entertainments continued all afternoon, and were spread around the town centre with reindeer, Punch and Judy Shows and craft stalls along Bath Street, main stage in the Market Place, Mayor’s Pamper Afternoon at the Guildhall, family activities in St Nicolas’ Church and a petting zoo in Bridge Street. “Putting stalls and entertainments in Bath Street does cause us quite a few headaches as we have to use an official road closure, but it means that people walk up Bury Street or the High Street to get there, so the event becomes about the whole town, not just benefiting the businesses on the Market Place.” said the Choose Abingdon Partnership Manager, Heather Brown. “We are drawing in so many people to this event now that putting the whole thing on the Market Place is no longer an option as we need the space for people to gather for the lights and fireworks.”
Bell ringers, community choir singers and the Mayor’s prize-giving rounded off the day at 5.30pm. Master of Ceremonies was former Mayor, Duncan Brown, who led the count down to the lights switch-on and then the fireworks display, which could be seen from Steventon.
The event is organised by Abingdon-on-Thames Chamber of Commerce with support from the Choose Abingdon Partnership and Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council. This year the reindeer and street entertainments were sponsored by Oakman Inns’ Crown & Thistle on Bridge Street which re-opened its doors on Wednesday after a £1.8m refurbishment, and the fireworks were provided by May’s Properties, owners of Fairacres.