THE true spirit of Christmas shone brightly on Arundel’s streets and lit up the sky on Saturday as crowds flocked to a popular annual festive event.
Arundel By Candlelight, now in its 13th year, attracted thousands of people, some travelling from Germany to see an impressive array of entertainment, commencing at midday with a live nativity scene and parade through the town.
The Duchess of Norfolk Georgina Fitzalan-Howard said: “This is a great event at the start of Christmas bringing people together. Community is what it is all about.”
There was a focus on providing greater youth provision and involvement, including three children’s competitions by WOW! Creative Youth Engagement Project and entertainment from Arundel Youth Theatre.
Sharon Blaikie, chairman of Arundel By Candlelight, said: “We wanted to involve local schools, organisations and clubs to enhance the true meaning of Christmas from a children’s perspective.”
A community stall run by WOW! promoted Arundel youth projects and opportunities.
Other events throughout the day included the popular lantern parade, Santa’s grotto, face painting, vintage fairground rides, a carol service led by the three churches, a rock choir and panto excerpts.
Ms Blaikie said: “There has been a fabulous atmosphere in the town and I am very pleased with how the day has gone. We had an amazing team of people.”
Numerous Christmas market stalls had been planned for the day but they had to be scaled down due to strong winds. Some stalls still went ahead selling Fairtrade goods, roasted chestnuts, mulled wine and hog roasts.
Arundel mayor James Stewart said: “It is a shame about the weather but hopefully the traders of Arundel will still have benefited. This is a fantastic event.”
Karen Paul, of Jam Gallery, which sells jewellery and accessories in High Street, said: “It has been a good day for business with similar trade to last year.”
Local charities also benefited from the day. Chichester Young Farmers Club raised money for Chestnut Tree House at its pop-up live nativity scene and Arundel Rotary Club sold mistletoe and holly to raise funds for their chosen charities.
High Street was heaving at the Christmas tree lighting ceremony, where the lights of a magnificent tree provided by the Norfolk Estate were officially switched on by the Duchess.
Visitor Deborah Carr said: “Arundel looks so inviting and atmospheric. It is so nice to take some time out to enjoy what Arundel does so well.”
New this year were wish and memory Christmas trees across the town, where people could leave their Christmas messages for loved ones.
Arundel By Candlelight was organised by Arundel Chamber of Commerce, sponsored by Pegasus Properties and supported by Arundel Town Council.
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