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Carnival of the Baubles kicks off the countdown to Christmas in Ashford town centre

Published: 28/11/2022
Parade with lanterns and binbot

On Saturday 26 November, Christmas celebrations were in full swing in Ashford as Carnival of the Baubles brought a day of festive, family fun to the town centre.

Thousands of people lined the streets to watch the Outer Space themed procession of giant illuminated lanterns and baubles make its way through the heart of the town. Local school children and community groups gathered at Elwick Place and proceeded up Bank Street through to the Lower High Street where the procession came to a celebratory end with an amazing drumming performance by Blocofogo. The star of the show was BinBot, a giant mechanical puppet, who led the procession of lights alongside students from TheatreTrain Ashford and the man himself, Father Christmas, who danced his way up the street in a rocket. It really was a magical evening.

Blocofogo drumming band in the procession

Father Christmas, TheatreTrain Ashford and Binbot travelling up bank street

The Mecca Bingo building was lit up with a video mapping projection (created by University of Kent students), while St Mary’s Church was illuminated with architectural lighting, creating a beautiful festive glow. Music filled the air, on what was deemed to be one of highest footfall days in the town centre for the last two years, thanks to the fabulous live performers on the bandstand curated by Revelation Ashford, and visitors soaked up the Christmassy atmosphere as they browsed the Christmas Makers Market in Park Mall and enjoyed festive food and drink from local businesses.

Lighting on the odeon building and crowd of people

Melissa Dawkins, Founder of Made in Ashford, said: “Carnival of the Baubles 2022 was our best year yet. We worked with 100s of local people in schools, community groups and open workshops in The Craftship to make star lanterns, UFOs and planets. Our local artists made the big lanterns that were in local businesses window displays in the lead up to the parade. These astronauts, aliens, robots, starships and more were exceptional quality and wowed the audiences; which was a credit to the local makers who have been developing their exceptional skills over the last few years. The town centre was buzzing on bauble day and Made in Ashford saw a boost in customers with many new faces popping to the shop and Makers Market. Our town had a wonderful community feel that lasted well into the evening with so many folks being wowed by the parade, projection mapping and church illuminations.”

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

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