Christmas Fun Feast of a Festival

  • Henley Christmas Festival 2014

Fairground rides, a Christmas feast of festive foods, Santa’s Grotto, a lantern parade, carol singing and Panto performers were all on offer for everyone in Henley to enjoy on Friday night at the Christmas Festival.  The town was buzzing with what seemed like the biggest Christmas Festival ever with something for everyone including the terrifying new ‘Web’ ride for the older children.

The Christmas Festival started with local primary school children in a lantern parade which was led by Henley Round Table’s Santa on his sleigh from Hotel du Vin, up Hart Street to the Town Hall.  The lanterns had been produced with the help of a joint initiative between Henley Town Council and the River and Rowing Museum.

Stefania Bersalla who had won the Mayor’s Christmas card competition helped the Mayor (Councillor Martin Akehurst) switch on the big Christmas Tree lights which was donated again by Invesco Perpetual.  This was then followed by the Mayor leading the carol singing accompanied by the Marlow Town Band.

Most of the shops opened late too and had special Christmas offerings or activities.  Laurence Menswear in Duke Street had invited regular customer, Dennis Saunders, to play his clarinet and they had joined up with the Chocolate Cafe in Thameside to offer customers Christmas cake and brownies for a donation towards the Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA).  Laurence Morris said afterwards, “It’s been a really great night for sales and donations.  We’ve raised a staggering £200 for the TVAA.”

The big vintage carousel in Market Place returned for its second year and made a great focal point around which the local charity and community group stalls were located.  Many were represented including Valley Road, Sacred Heart and Badgemore Schools, Henley Lions and the Henley Twinning Association.

Santa’s Grotto in King’s Arms Barn proved popular as always with the children.  Santa was helped by Fairy Jeni (Councillor Jeni Wood) and outside the Chocolate Cafe served hot drinks and refreshments for people waiting in the queue.  Also in the King’s Arm Barn courtyard was a ‘Wishing Tree’ which was organised by the Henley Air Cadets with the help of Councillor Kellie Hinton. The presents were again kindly donated by KVB Design.

What a fantastic start to the festive season – a big well done to everyone involved.