Wokingham’s big Christmas party was hailed as being hugely successful as thousands of people turned out to party.
The annual Winter Carnival was held in the town centre on Sunday and saw local charities and groups join forces with fairground ride owners and local businesses to organise one of the south east’s biggest street fairs.
And the bumper turnout relieved organisers after weather forecasts predicted a wet and windy day. In the event, there were a few showers in the morning but the afternoon was mainly dry.
David Donaldson, who chairs the organising committee, told The Wokingham Paper: “I’m absolutely delighted and relieved. The forecast was very much against but but we had the crowds and the atmosphere despite the windy weather.
“As a committee, we work so hard [to organise the event]. You can never predict the weather – you have to keep your fingers crossed that on the one day of the carnival you have weather that’;s acceptable. We didn’t have much rain, just a bit.
“The people of Wokingham supported us again and they came in droves.”
The day’s events included a carnival parade led by Wokingham town mayor, Cllr Philip Mirfin, the switching on of the Christmas lights and carol singing led by Berkshire Maestros and Father Richard Lamey, the rector of St Paul’s Church.
There were 200 stalls and rides in Broad Street, Denmark Street and Peach Street, with about half being run by local community groups and charities including the Salvation Army, Evendons School and Healthwatch.
Scout troops and Rotary clubs offered sweets, cakes, mulled wine and mince pies while local restaurants including the Sultan Balti House offered hot street food.
Street entertainment came from a range of local morris dancing sides, a dixie band and the Reading Scottish Pipe Band and Circus Scene entertained with jugglers, stilt walkers and clowns.
A snow machine next to the main stage in Market Place proved to be a popular attraction for children, while groups including Murphy Brass Band and the Rock Choir performing. A punch and Judy show entertained youngsters in Erfstadt Court.
Mr Donaldson said that the parade was “lovely” and “really good” and the organising committee expected to make a surplus that will be presented to the town mayor’s charity in the spring. Meanwhile, the local groups that had stalls will have raised significant donations over the course of the day.
“We’ve enabled them to set up their stall and provided them with a good number of visitors,” Mr Donaldson said.
“I’d also like to thank such a marvellous committee, both for the individual efforts and their collective efforts. The proof was in the pudding of a very successful day.”