The weather behaved well for Chorleywood Christmas Festival and the event, held as usual on the first Friday of December, had a great atmosphere and was said to be the best yet. The mix of late night shopping, four hours on entertainment on the Community stage, as well as toddler rides and mirror maze with a festive market and community stalls linking the two ends of the village meant there was something for everybody. The star attractions were Santa at Poores and Donkey Zippy who, thanks to Chorleywood Builders came all the way from Wales especially in time for the event and greeted children in his trailer, aka stable, with Mary and Joseph.
The queues for street food were as long as ever and visitors were spoilt for choice with Higgins ‘hog roast, J. J. May’s Barbecue, Sathi’ s sizzle buffet and Three Sons’ spicy snacks while the Scouts supplied hot chocolate and John Roberts did a roaring trade in mulled wine with the profits going to Multiple Sclerosis.
Those who preferred to soak up the atmosphere indoors were welcomed by many businesses who offered drinks and nibbles and there were plenty of menu choices and special dishes on offer from The Peppermill, Rootz, Morgan’s Deli, Gusto, Mezze Mangal and more.
Lots of festival goers loved Chorleywood Cider Club’s refreshments including cider by Millwhites and samples of brews made from orchard apples. Roger’s mulled cider recipe went down a bomb with many customers opting for an added shot of rum for extra punch!. Chutneys, pickles and juice made from orchard plums and apples were favourites as Christmas presents with one customer spending £50 on Chorleywood Orchard produce.
St Clement Danes Charities’ Prefects raised £130 for their four chosen charities : Deafax, The Watford Woman’s Centre, The Kenyan Children’s Project and Kidscape. As well as selling Santa hats and candy canes they offered Christmas themed face painting, Guess the name of the Christmas Teddy and Guess the number of sweets in the jar- (there were nearly 200!).
Andrew Fleming Florist sold many of the first trees of the season to customers while other shoppers got some Christmas shopping under way, taking advantage of offers in store including Eden Rose and Chorleywood Sports.
Santa at Poores handed out gifts to children with a suggested donation to Canine Partners charity, while Chorleywood’s own Canine Partner, golden Labrador Eli was in residence with owner Lorna. Collecting tins were filled to the brim with a total of £232 being raised on the night which was made up to £270 by Lorna, friends and family and the amount generously matched by Poores CEO, Shanker Patel, making a total of £540.
The streets and shops were full of festive music. John and Lizzy Jackson provided live jazz in CW Bookshop and there was a packed programme on the Community stage in Lower Road kicking off with Chorleywood Beavers followed by a trumpet fanfare from Russell School pupils as an introduction to the combined primary schools choir from Christ Church, Russell and Chorleywood Primary, a first for Chorleywood with 73 children in all adding a wonderful atmosphere to the night, A group of young singers, The Chorleybelles, performed gospel style numbers and were followed by song and dance from Stagecoach Theatre Arts students then members of Carol Kristian school who sang a medley from the musical Annie and also a special surprise Christmas in Chorleywood song. The song was used as the sound track for a video produced by Chorleywood Magazine that was shown for the first time on screen on the stage and has since had more than 4000 hits on YouTube (The title track plus two other tracks can be bought on CD from Chorleywood shops https://chorleywoodmagazine.co.uk/christmas-in-chorleywood/)
After the community choirs came five local bands playing a wide variation in music styles. Sets from rock to country and soul to rap were performed by The After School Club, Midnight Trio, The Nameless Three, Tumblewood and Rash LA. Tracks and more details on these bands can be found on our music page at https://chorleywoodmagazine.co.uk/category/local-music/
The stage was hosted by Owen Visser and a cheerily dressed Tom Clarkson (son of Chorleywood favourite’s MC Martin Clarkson), who kept audiences amused in between acts with all sorts of antics including a rap off (which turned out to be a wrap off with Christmas wrapping paper!), a live link to Santa and by launching occasional bunches of helium filled balloons into the sky bearing messages to the man in the moon. Something must have inspired him.
If you were part of the Christmas Festival and were missed out of our write-up, email us to let us know how you got on. Send words or any photos or video footage of the night to add to our gallery to email@example.com
Chorleywood Christmas Festival is a Chorleywood Community Initiatives event and was made possible by:.
Event and stage sponsorship: Chorleywood Business Association, Chris Hayward/Herts County Council, Poores, Connect Church and John Roberts
Stage: Arpeggio Stage Hire: George, Brian and team http://www.arpeggiostagehire.co.uk/.
Stage Programme and liaison : Chorleywood Magazine
Sound, lighting and video crew: Owen Visser, Luke Swaffield, Bob Visser and Richard Prideaux. MCs: Owen Visser and Tom Clarkson
Admin: Anthea Hunter, Maura Cohen.
Organising / Stewarding: James Roberts and teams from Connect Church and Restore Hope Latimer, Bob Visser, Dick and Sue Mander and Cider Club team. Richard Phillips and John Lee. Big thank you to Steven Warrior for impromptu road management,
Publicity: Sporadic TV for poster and banner design; Anthony at Poores for collecting and distributing banners; John Roberts for printing posters and Sewell and Gardener for delivering notices.
Stable: Chorleywood Builders with St Andrew’s Church
All the Performers
Photos copyright Andrew Bungard, Kim Lawden (and Clare Greenaway for previous Higgins’ Hog roast pic! )