Lanterns flickering, shop widows a glow and Christmas trees sparkling, all helped to create a magical atmosphere in Crewkerne for the town’s annual Lighting Up Night. The dry and mild weather also helped to make the evening a great success, with hundreds (maybe even thousands) of people coming into the centre of the town early to enjoy the festive fare available, hog roasts at Barrett Bros the butchers, bacon butties at the Scouts stall in Falkland Square and turkey baps served by Richard and staff outside of Oscars wine bar. Mulled wines and mulled ciders were also widely available with Tracey, Ellie and Colin from Stoodley & Son, raising money for the Christmas Lights fund. Many of the town’s shops stayed open late, offering customers complimentary refreshments and children enjoyed playing in the artificial snow falling from McKinlays in the George Shopping Centre.
In Falkland Square, Phoenix Brass Band entertained the crowds as students from Maiden Beech Academy taking part in the Rotary’s Big Pitch project sold festive gifts for charity. Santa’s Magic Keys – an innovative idea by student Grace to “leave one of the magic keys under your doormat and Santa will be able to get into your house and deliver gifts this Christmas, even if you don’t have a chimney,” raised money for Unique, a charity which supports people with rare chromosome disorders.
The Christmas craft fair in Victoria Hall was busier than ever, refreshments served by Crewkerne Community Church and in Market Square, radio DJ Steve Carpenter compered the evening. CUDOS sang carols and the young dancers from The Dance House put on a first class performance. Santa arrived in town in a festive procession headed up by a fire appliance from Crewkerne Fire Station, baton twirling display by Merriott Majorettes and the Lantern Parade led by workshop leader Richard Godden of Play Art Education. The handmade lanterns of a variety of designs looked spectacular and had been judged earlier outside of the Henhayes Centre. In first place was a lantern created by Gracie, Olivia and Sophie Lawrence, second place by Ruby Jenner, Hannah and Melissa Braley and in third place Chris and Finlay Harrison.
Santa arrived in Market Square in his festive sleigh to help the Mayor Kathy Head and Town Crier David Craner switch on the Christmas tree lights. The winner of this year’s Christmas window display was Delilah Petal in Church Street who was awarded the prestigious Neill McClintock Cup. Other shop windows that were highly commended by the judges were Thirty One hair and beauty salon and Lilybelle nail salon. Before Santa left town to continue his busy Christmas schedule, he was pleased to hear children’s Christmas wishes in his grotto at the town hall. Crewkerne Christmas Committee would like to thank all the local groups, organisations and businesses who took part in the event, specially the Rotary Club of Crewkerne District for safely transporting Santa to the town hall. A special thank you to Humphries Kirk for allowing the use of their electricity to light up the town over the festive period and to Richard at Oscars for coming to the rescue, when the lights in Market Square failed just before the Lighting Up began. A big thank you also to everyone who supported the evening and shopped locally. (Our feature photo was taken by Pete Blackwell)