Ashford’s Carnival of the Baubles brings thousands of people into the Town Centre

Published: 07/12/2023
Farrah the Fox and Theatretrain Ashford at Carnival of the Baubles 2023

On Saturday 25 November, thousands of residents lined the streets of Ashford Town Centre as the Carnival of the Baubles once again kicked off the festive season.

This year’s parade was sponsored by EKC Ashford College and saw businesses, schools, and community groups make their way from Elwick Place to the Lower High Street carrying giant, illuminated enchanted forest themed baubles.

The day was fun-filled from start to finish, with the team from Made in Ashford running craft workshops at the bandstand and performances throughout the day to keep the crowds entertained on what all indicators show was the busiest day in the Town Centre for many years, with many traders commenting that is had been the best day of trade they’d ever had.

The crowds then gathered at Elwick Place from 4pm, where performances from TheatreTrain Ashford, Circadian and other local dance schools entertained the crowds before the team from Elwick Place illuminated the plaza with a spectacular lights switch on.

Farrah the Fox, a giant mechanical puppet, then appeared, music filled the air and the confetti cannon signaled the beginning of the procession of lights, which alongside Farrah, was led by students from TheatreTrain Ashford and the man himself, Father Christmas, who danced his way up the street greeting the crowds. The Mayor, Cllr Larry Krause, Reverend Dr Sue Starkings, Damian Green MP and Susan Bonnet, Principle of EKC Ashford College also joined the parade which was bigger than ever before!

There was a fabulous ending in Lower High Street with drumming, more confetti and a buzz in the air as the crowds checked out the festive markets which were filled with amazing street food and Christmas treats. As if that wasn’t enough, children gathered at the bandstand for a brilliant game of musical statues and a disco led by DJ John Robertson and Coachworks held a celebratory after party for everyone to enjoy. It really was a magical evening.

Cllr Heather Hayward, Portfolio Holder for Performance and Direction at Ashford Borough Council said: “I would like to thank everyone involved in this year’s Carnival of the Baubles – it really was a very special evening. It was wonderful to see so many Ashford’s diverse community come together in the parade.

"The high street was the busiest we’ve ever seen it. The baubles this year were beautiful, with many commenting on the enchanted forest-themed characters and the atmosphere was incredible. It was great to see many of our local businesses in the parade and also getting involved in seasonal offers on the day. It certainly was a night to remember.” 

Early feedback from residents has been overwhelmingly positive, with many taking to social media to discuss the Carnival. Here’s just a snippet of their feedback:

“What a great evening. A big thank you to all the participants and organisers. I left with a big smile on my face. Fabulous!”

“Best ever. Loved seeing Ashford come together. Thank you.”

“It was lovely, the atmosphere was great and it was good to see so many people there!”

“It was fantastic. I danced the night away.”

“Great parade, well done everyone, really enjoyed it.”

This year’s event was organised in partnership with Ashford Borough Council and Emergency Exit Arts with Made in Ashford and supported by town centre businesses and a host of talented local artists.

You can watch our highlights video here: Carnival of the Baubles 2023 - YouTube

Organisers would love to hear your feedback, so please visit and fill in a quick survey.