The organisers of the Dickensian Christmas festival are celebrating their ‘best event yet’ in the town.
Around 8,000 people are estimated to have flocked to the festive night of market stalls and entertainment in Accrington on the night of Thursday, December 8.
This year saw the addition of a ‘Hyndburn Christmas Star’ award, presented by players from Accrington Stanley which was won by mother and daughter East Lancashire Hospice fundraisers Mo and Jaqui Collins.
The popular night was created by Warner Street traders Evonne Harwood and Kate Furey last year.
Warner Street trader Kate told the Observer: “It was so worth all the hard work.
“After I saw the first kid’s face light up I thought ‘I’ll be doing this again’. It’s hard work but I think we offered a lot more in terms of the actual layout, which went really well.
“I loved the effort that the shop owners had made with their windows, it looked like a proper Christmas street. It is our best event yet, especially because we managed to get a bit more professional.
“The quality of the stalls was amazing, and the products were great and the whole feel of it was so atmospheric. Everyone, young and old from all walks of life was there. It was simply amazing to see the town bustling with people. It brought out the best in everybody.”
A ‘fire-dancing fairy’ and live samba band delighted the crowds, while children were thrilled to be able to meet Father Christmas and his real reindeer.
It culminated in a candlelit procession and a seasonal carol service at Accrington St James Church, with words from the Reverend Ian Enticott.
Kate added: “To me it shows we can do it if we pull together and the power to revitalise Accrington really is in the pockets of the public. It was wonderful, it just showed another side to Accrington, we can achieve something fabulous but it needs to be about the community, and it always will be.
"I hope people will come away with hope that we can actually keep the shops open, we can keep the town alive.”
The event, which spread across Warner Street, Church Street and the side roads in between, took more than six months of planning.
Kate said: “If we raise the funds we’ll 100 per cent commit to doing it again next year.”
She added the organisers would like to thank Hyndburn Borough Council, Lancashire County Council, Scott Dawson Advertising, Stonehouse Logic, Haworths Financial services, Haworths Ltd Accountants, The Rotary Club of Church and Oswaldtwistle, The Rotary Club of Accrington, the businesses on and around Warner street and the donations from the public who all jumped in to save the event when they heard that a sponsor had pulled out.
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