Fine food and fun at winter festival
A TWO-DAY winter festival in the town centre saw musicians and traders gather for a celebration of food, crafts and local produce. European stallholders offering continental delights such as paella, Dutch pancakes and Polish amber joined the regular market on Friday. The festival was held to celebrate Ashford’s improved shopping facilities and the opening of Elwick Square. Town centre co-ordinator Viv Kenny said: “The festival provided a great kick start for the run-up to the festive period. It was lovely to see so many people enjoying themselves.” Intimacy Gigs joined forces with the Town Centre Partnership to offer a full day of entertainment in County Square on the Saturday, including guitarists Nathan Holme and John Lally. The ice rink in the car park of Charter House also proved popular. Ice World organiser Paul Whitehouse said: “We saw more than 500 people over the festival weekend and numbers are rising steadily as word gets round.”
The County Square shopping centre has lined up a number of pre-Christmas events. On Saturday, between 11am and 4pm, local community choirs and bands will perform. Then over the weekend of December 13 and 14 singing elves and Bjorn the polar bear make an appearance. Santa’s Little Helpers will visit on December 20 and 21, with music from a gospel choir, burlesque girl band Adora and 1950s-inspired band the Doo Wop Dolls. Thursday late-night shopping kicked off last week with hundreds of shoppers tucking into 500 free mince pies, 40 litres of wine and enjoying street entertainment.
Artists Vanessa Jayne and Chris Clark at the Ashford winter festival Pictures: Gary Browne pd 1515025