Town Hall Christmas wonderland

Some of the many special elves responsible for this year’s enchanting Cambridge Christmas Festival. They are, from left, Sheila Storrs, Sally Hall, Karin Stedall, Theresa Lambert, society president Deb Robinson, Cathy Lines and Toni Eames.

This year’s Cambridge Christmas Festival more than lives up to its 2017 theme, “Deck the Halls”.

From December 1 to 16, it will fill almost every inch of the Cambridge Town Hall with the sights and sounds of Christmas, and in a special nod to the theme, display trees have been decorated with Christmas symbols.

There is a Kiwi/beach-themed tree, a music tree, a food-related tree, and one entitled “Cheap and Cheerful” bearing decorations made from inexpensive materials such as jute.  The biggest tree is decorated in pristine white, and sits adjacent to a much smaller tree that magically “snows” and always enchants smaller visitors.

Almost 11 months of tough graft done by members of the Cambridge Christmas Festival Society has gone into crafting decorations and setting up the displays. Society member and hall co-ordinator Karin Stedall said most of the 40 or so members of the group have been working towards the event since February.

“It’s been going for decades. We make new decorations every year to fit a different theme,” she said. “Those from last year often go into the festival shop where they can be purchased.”

The festival gift shop will offer a host of items to buy, including some 1018 bottles of wide-ranging preserves made and donated by society members and festival supporters.

Among the regular features back again this year are the popular train display, nativity scene and kids’ lucky dips, and there will be the usual tearoom selling homemade festive-oriented goodies. This year’s raffle will see a large hamper, a fully-decorated Christmas tree and a quilted wall-hanging going to the winners drawn on the last day of the festival.

A couple of newer touches include a photo-booth where youngsters and their parents can ham it up in front of a camera wearing a raft of accessories, and the other is a questionnaire calling on people to provide feedback and constructive criticism that might help in the planning of future festivals.

The festival will be open between 10am and 6pm from December 1 to 8, and then between 10am to 8.30pm from December 9 to 16.

Santa himself will be visiting the festival from 12 noon to 1.30pm over the weekends – on December 2, 3, 9, 10 and 16.

Karin said entry to the festival was a gold coin koha, with all profits going to charities in Cambridge and Hamilton.

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