New lights and sound system at Tonbridge Christmas Festival
by Andy Tong | 22nd November 2018
BRAND new Christmas lights will adorn the High Street and river banks at this year’s three-day Tonbridge Christmas Festival on Friday, Saturday and Sunday [November 23-25], organised by the town’s Rotary Club.
The lights will be illuminated on Sunday at 5pm when the Mayor of Tonbridge & Malling Pam Bates will join community pantomime stars for the big switch-on.
The new designs include five-metre wide scroll and star crossings and column-mounted chandelier sparkle and white scroll star designs.
There will be a variety of musical entertainment for the free event, which culminates in a firework display above the Castle.
The festivities begin with a Family Fun Fair in Sovereign Way Mid car park on Friday from 6-10pm, Saturday from midday to 10pm and Sunday from noon till 8pm.
Sunday’s grand finale will begin at 1.50pm with the TS Brilliant Reunion Band marching through the High Street, where the Hartley Morris Men will perform throughout the day. The High Street will be closed to traffic from 11am to 8.30pm.
At 2.25pm the on-stage musical entertainment starts with Razzamataz Theatre School, the Tonbridge Community Singers, the town’s singer Charlotte Lubbock and Kentish rock and pop band Roxxon.
Razzamataz will perform the Christmas song Want To Be, which was sung by the girl band Fallen Millie of which dance teacher Tash Ashton was a member.
The former President of the Rotary Club, Brian Piner, is once again organising the extravaganza. He told the Times: “It is an honour to be stage manager again for this wonderful event. I am extremely excited about the enormous array of talent on stage this year.”
He added: “It is fantastic to welcome back our local award-winning comedian and screenwriter Dave Mac as Master of Ceremonies for the fifth year running.
“Since compering last year’s show he has appeared on the red carpet at the Screenwriters’ Awards at Paramount Studios in Hollywood.”
Mr McDonald is looking forward to returning to his roots after a busy time in the United States, where he also won an award at the Austin Film Festival in Texas.
He said: “It’s been a whirlwind of a year. I loved appearing at the original Comedy Store in California and fab making it through the video round of America’s Got Talent.
“I was so proud of one of our acts from the last Christmas Festival, Courtney Hadwin, who kindly took to the stage after being runner-up of The Voice UK Kids but went on to appear in the final of America’s Got Talent last month.”
Mr Piner added: “This year we have a record-breaking number of stalls selling a wide range of Christmas gifts and novelties, jewellery, food and drink. They will be an array of colour for the festive season and will line the High Street, accompanied by all the live entertainment from the stage.
“We have arranged for speakers to stretch the entire length of the High Street this year.”
Another new feature is a children’s window competition in which 14 businesses will post one question each in their windows with the winner taking home a prize worth £25. Questionnaires will be available from the Rotary Club’s stall.
Sonia Williams, the Rotary Club’s President, says: “We very much look forward to all the folk from Tonbridge coming along to enter into the Christmas spirit.
“I am delighted that after much hard work we can look forward to an excellent Christmas Festival which will be bigger and better than last year, and I am also extremely grateful to our sponsors this year.”
Programme of events
1.50pm TS Brilliant Reunion Band
2.25pm Razzamataz Theatre School
3pm Tonbridge Community Singers
3.35pm Charlotte Lubbock and ensemble
4.40pm Tonbridge Lions Community Panto
4.45pm The Mayor Pam Bates
5pm Christmas Lights switch-on
6pm Fireworks over Tonbridge Castle
Don't miss the Community Panto
The Tonbridge Lions Community Pantomime will present Snow White at the Angel Centre on December 7-9. For more information, visit @tonbridgepanto on social media.
The Christmas Festival is sponsored by Abbey Funeral Services, Anglefix, Base Finance, C & K Extrusions, Country Garden Florists, Ellis & Co Estate Agents, Hadlow Manor Hotel, Ibbott Mosely Estate Agents, Millsons Vending, Nizels Golf Club, Portman Rare Books, Rapport Housing, Rose & Crown Hotel, Richards Dry Cleaners, Shaws Leisure, Snapfitness, Subway, Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, Tonbridge School, Vaporium