Making most of festive favourite

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Over the years, Rye Christmas Festival, this year on Saturday, December 7 (with some events on Sunday, December 8), has grown immensely in popularity with visitors from far and wide travelling down to experience the festive festival, as well as many happy locals. With a large number of attendees, it’s important that everyone is able to make the most out of the big day, not only for those experiencing the day but also for the dedicated committee whose goal is to bring a jam-packed and joyful day to everyone.

Trying to stay warm in the cold and play

This year, the committee are bringing back beloved favourites whilst also adding some new and exciting things into the mix for everyone to enjoy. On the day, the town will be full of festive celebrations, with Rye being dressed to fit in with this years Dickensian theme: A Festival of Christmas Past. Street performers will be bringing Dickens characters to life through town, shops along the high street will have window displays as part of this years competition and there will be four performance areas around town with a range of different groups and soloists.

This year’s festival starts at 10:30am, with Father Christmas himself arriving on horse and cart on Cinque Ports Street before retreating to his grotto to hand out presents. This is a great start to the beloved day and is not to be missed.

Some stalls from a previous year

For another year, visitors can enjoy fairground rides, the hilarious high street races, creative workshops, storytelling, the annual carol concert and of course, the unforgettable Christmas procession! For the perfect Christmas photo opportunity, there will be a giant 10ft snow globe, with disabled access, meaning everyone can pose for the newest addition above your mantlepiece. All of these activities and events have been festival favourites for attendees, and the committee have worked year-round to bring joyous and unforgettable experiences. There will be a small festival market too, giving you the chance to add something new to your Christmas shopping!

One of the new additions this year is the horse and cart rides that will take you around the high street, allowing you to take in all of the fun, décor and enchanting atmosphere that Rye is offering this year. Visitors will be able to purchase tickets on the day for this unique ride around town.

But that isn’t all there is to offer. As in every year, there are pre-bookable activities for the festival. Once again, you can book an exclusive one-on-one slot with Father Christmas himself in his grotto, where your little ones can take a photo with the man of the hour and receive a quality present to take home.

This year, the pantomime is going to make you want to dust off your glass slippers, as a hilarious, singing and dancing pantomime performance of Cinderella takes place in Rye Community Centre. This is guaranteed to be a show that gets all ages off their seats and enjoying the classic fairy tale.

Brand new for 2019 is the Elf Training Academy! From learning how to make reindeer food, wrapping presents in record time to learning how to write the perfect letter to Father Christmas, younger visitors can train to become an elf in this all new interactive experience. Participating children will also receive a complimentary elf hat and their very own elf certificate.

With entertainment, interactive activities, market stalls and interactive experiences, how can you fit all of this into one day? It can be done! Tickets are already live (and selling fast!) for Father Christmas’ grotto, showings for the Cinderella pantomime and the Elf Training Academy on the website here. By booking before the day, you’re guaranteed to experience these activities with your booked slot.

Due to the high demand and popularity in the festival, the committee have also made the decision to extend these three experiences across to Sunday December 8, so nobody has to miss out. If you’re unable to bag tickets for the Saturday experiences (or unfortunately can’t make it to the festival that day), you can still enjoy these exciting activities.

Carols in the church

The best way to enjoy the festival in full is to pre-book any events you want to experience and arrive at the festival with plenty of time to walk around and immerse yourself. The celebrations begin at 10:30am on December 7 and run until late into the evening, allowing you plenty of time to fit everything in.

And with free parking at Gibbets Marsh, Bedford Place and Lucknow Place on the day of the festival – you won’t have to worry about a thing.

Don’t forget to visit the website for all ticket information and to keep a regular eye on Rye Christmas Festival on Facebook for live updates.

It’s also not too late help with hanging the lights for this year.  Just come along to WJ Bennett in the High Street on any weekday evening at 6:30pm until Friday November 22 to join in.

Some of the lights are up, but your help is still needed

Image Credits: Tony Ham , Veryan Pollard , J. Minter .

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