Carnival for Christmas 2018

Father Christmas with sleigh and reindeer

This year’s Rye Christmas Festival has a carnival theme. Huge thanks to artist Heidi Griffiths for donating the artwork for this year’s poster. You can find her work here.
The festival will take place on Saturday December 8 and run from 11am until late.

Cheers and team support for the Christmas pudding race

Many of the usual events and highlights will return and you can expect to see the High Street being more the centre of attention than usual. From street performers to interactive entertainment, this will be a “travelling carnival” with something to see and hear throughout town all day. Full event details will be released nearer the time.
This year there are more changes being made, both in line with the feedback from previous years, and also the capacity of funds and time that the committee have. This year the committee have lost three of their founding members and so the workload is at its highest ever for those remaining.
The events/features not returning this year are the market and the main trailer stage. The market is something that takes an incredible amount of management and planning and with three years of figures and feedback it is clear that the stallholders do not have a particularly lucrative day. With families and children wanting to experience the events, shows and entertainment, shopping does not seem to be a huge priority to our event goers. We will of course be welcoming back the charities who have stalls dotted about the town. Rye Club remains host to a craft fair, plus the town’s resident shops will have open doors if you do fancy a spot of shopping!
Lit up for Christmas – The High Street at Festival-time

The trailer stage is a huge expense for the committee and one that requires constant technical support and staffing throughout the day. We feel that most of the acts who perform on it are actually small in size and better suited to one of the busking stages we set up through town on the day, enabling them to be heard by all passing by. The larger groups, like the dance centres have been invited to be involved in other ways on the day and choirs/larger bands are invited to contact us for street performances and flash-mob style involvement.
A new addition will be the presence of a large mobile trailer LED screen showing video clips and adverts throughout the day. We will soon be contacting businesses who might like to advertise on this to maximise their exposure on the day. If this is something your business might be interested in then please contact
At this stage the committee are working hard to ensure that key elements are confirmed before the lull over summer where we all spend some time with our families. If you would like to be involved, whether you be a charity, performer, shop, sponsor or can offer some time to volunteer on the day then please contact me at

Photos: Rye News Library


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