About the Festival
It all started in the early ’80s with a wheelbarrow full of baked spuds being sold around the town, whilst the shops stayed open late to catch any last minute Christmas shoppers. The atmosphere, with the Christmas lights on the High street and the town’s Christmas tree, was festive but low key.
Move the clock forward over thirty years and what is now known as the Garstang Victorian Christmas Festival is a huge community event attracting local residents and hundreds of visitors from around the region. The town’s Christmas lights are better than ever, and the wheelbarrow full of spuds has been replaced by stalls and carts supplying everything from German sausages to burgers, candy floss to roasted chestnuts. Visitors can also enjoy a glass of mulled wine as they stroll around the town.
Although still a traditional Christmas Festival with a Victorian theme, more modern entertainment is also on offer alongside the traditional. There is usually a Punch and Judy show, morris dancers, and brass bands, whilst stilt walkers and drumming bands often add a touch of polished 21st century entertainment. The exact programme of events varies from year to year, so there is often something new to make it an ever improving festival.
And let’s not forget the main man of the night, Santa Claus! He arrives in style led by a band and paraded down the High Street to his grotto, where he settles down to welcome the children.
There is a great selection of small, independent shops in Garstang, and many of them stay open throughout the evenings so you can pop in to purchase those last minute presents. In many you are even welcomed with a glass of wine and a mince pie!
There is always a special welcome to anyone who dresses up in Victorian costume for the night – it all adds to the atmosphere!.
When the Festival is over, and the seasonal celebrations out of the way, around the middle of January, the planning for the next Victorian Christmas Festival gets underway! There is no rest for the volunteer organising committee, as fundraising events have to be organised to pay for next year’s Festival, and plans are put together for the following December.