Newquay was full of Christmas cheer last Friday as thousands came to the town to take part in the annual Festive Festival, organised by Newquay BID and Newquay Town Council. This year, even more people attended the event, helping to kick start the festive period and spreading seasonal cheer throughout the town.

The festival got off to a great start with festive DJ Jay Day on stage at Marcus Hill, playing Christmassy tunes and getting the gathering crowd ready for the Christmas Lights switch on and the arrival of the Lantern Parade. Street performers, including stilt walkers, a fire duo, the King and Queen of Ice statues and a festive Penny Farthing magician helped bring a vibrant atmosphere to Bank Street and businesses added to the Christmas spirit by giving away tasters of food and drink, much enjoyed by the families making their way through town. Cornish choir Oll an Gwella performed on stage, delighting the crowd with their traditional Cornish carols and songs.

Over 500 hand-made lanterns and their creators then made their way from the Hotel Bristol to Fore Street in a dazzling display of light and colour. Father Christmas, accompanied by Newquay Deputy Mayor Rachel Craze and other civic dignitaries, alongside the festive fire engine, led the parade with Newquay Band, whose performance thoroughly delighted the thousands of people who lined the streets to enjoy the show. Schools from across Newquay took part, as well as community and charity groups such as The Wave Project, Newquay Zoo and Blystra Arts. The lanterns this year were superb, displaying great creativity and ingenuity, and the children, their parents and teachers are to be congratulated for all their hard work and effort.

At Marcus Hill, local favourite Joe Hurworth gave a wonderful performance on stage which charmed everyone watching and, as the Lantern Parade made its way through town to Marcus Hill, it was time for the official countdown to the Christmas Lights switch on. Pirate FM’s Lucy Start hosted the switch on, which was accompanied by a blessing of the Christmas tree by the Reverend Canon Jem Thorold from St Michael’s Church. The parade then continued down Bank Street and onto Fore Street where there was a truly spectacular display of fireworks over Newquay Harbour, courtesy of Newquay Town Council, much enjoyed by the crowds lining the streets and filling the cafes, bars and restaurants.

Newquay Lions organiser Andy Cole described the Festive Festival and Lantern Parade as “a fantastic turn out by everyone who took part, helped or watched: it was a brilliant community event, making all proud to live in Newquay”.

A number of retailers across the town also opened their doors on Friday for late-night shopping, making the most of the additional footfall. Many visitors stayed on after the parade to pick up some extra Christmas gifts, or enjoy food & drink. BID Manager, Carla-Marie Jones, said “The Festive Festival and Lantern Parade continues to grow in popularity each year and it is wonderful to see so many people enjoying the event, creating such a wonderful atmosphere in the town at the start of the festive period. We know this is a really important time of year for local businesses and we are very pleased with the extra footfall throughout the town that the event generated: we look forward to working on next year’s Festival and making it even more spectacular”.

John Burbirdge, BID Chair, said “Newquay BID would like to thank all the organisations that worked together to make this festival such a great success: these include Newquay Town Council, Newquay Lions and Newquay Towan Blystra Lions, Joe Hurwoth, Pirate FM, Impact Sound and Lighting, Newquay Band, host Jay Day, Oll and Gwella choir, Higher Beings Circus, Nitoe Security and all the schools and community groups that took part in the Festival and Parade. The involvement of all these organisations, alongside the support from local businesses in the town, ensures that the Festive Festival continues to grow and thrive each year and is definitely an event that Newquay can be rightly proud of”.