Newquay was full of Christmas cheer this weekend as thousands came to the resort to take part in the second annual Festive Festival, spreading even more seasonal cheer than last year. Footfall peaked during the switch on of Newquay’s Christmas lights at 7pm when figures showed almost 3000 people in the town centre, representing a 1.7% increase on last year.
The festival was organised by Newquay Town Council and Newquay Business Improvement District (BID) and encompassed a whole programme of events that ran between Friday 29th November and Sunday 1st December to encourage visitors and residents alike to celebrate the countdown to Christmas in Newquay.
The festival got off to a great start when Santa and his real-life reindeer flew in to meet Newquay’s children at the Hotel Victoria on Friday to find out what they wanted for Christmas. Santa had time to pop over to Towan Beach for a surf check before hopping on his sleigh to join the lantern parade that evening.
Over 100 hand-made lanterns and their creators journeyed from Narrowcliff to Fore Street in a dazzling display of light and colour. An added element this year was a vibrant LED light project showcased by children from Newquay Junior and Trenance Learning Academy. The unique project was funded by Feast Cornwall and led by Stiltskin Creative Arts and Theatre Company and local gallery greyblackwhite.
The parade was watched by thousands of people who lined the streets to see the spectacle and enjoy the toe-tapping beats from Hayle Storm Samba and the Indian Queens Band. At 7.30pm Holly Day from Pirate fm arrived at the Christmas tree on Marcus Hill accompanied by festive carol signing to flick the switch that ignited Newquay’s Christmas lights. Newquay Town Council had installed new white LED bulbs that made a big impact. Friday night was rounded off by a fabulous fireworks display that lit up the harbour.
Other successful elements over the weekend included the popular Food & Craft Market which took place in the car-park on Fore Street. Shoppers gathered at the undercover market which was stuffed full of tasty treats, winter warmers and Christmassey crafts to pick up a unique gift from a selection of local traders.
Retailers certainly had that festive feeling as 15 shops took part in the best-dressed window competition which made the high street look extra Christmassey. Smile Surf shop won the highly contested title for their creative window display. A number of retailers across the town also opened their doors on Friday for late-night shopping. Many visitors stayed on after the parade to pick up some extra Christmas gifts and take advantage of the reduced parking that was available across the town.
Sunday saw a crowd of 80 rather athletic Santa’s sprinting across Towan Beach to raise money for Cornwall Hospice Care as part of their Santa Fun Run Series. The money raised will go towards funding the work that the hospices for people with life-limiting illnesses across Cornwall.
Eve Wooldridge said: “We are thrilled that the Festive Festival was such a success. It gave the town a great boost and has left us all looking forward to Christmas. This is the second year the festival has taken place and we are pleased to report it is growing in terms of participants and spectators. In response to the greater numbers Newquay BID will be putting measures in place to ensure that all the elements run smoothly next year so that we can continue to cater for the events popularity.
“Newquay BID would like to thank all the organisations that worked together to make this festival such a great success. Partnership working is key to an event like this and it would not be as successful without the help and support from NTC, Police Cadets, Pirate FM, Event Cornwall, Newquay Lions Club and a range of local businesses and retailers who took part. We know this is a really important time of year for local businesses and we are very pleased with the extra footfall the event generated.”