A market town was transported back in time for a Victorian Christmas festival.
The new one day event in Neston, organised by Neston Town Council working with the Rotary Club of Neston and Neston and District Churches Together, took place on the market square and in the town hall bringing visitors from across the Wirral and beyond.
The festival attracted over 50 stalls with entertainment provided by an array of performers from the town’s own Little Actors who performed a specially created Victorian piece from their own Young Writers group to the Capriccio Singers from Wirral and the Port Sunlight Sea Dogs who celebrated Neston and Parkgate’s maritime history with a collection of their evocative sea shanties.
Visitors were treated to a full programme of 19th century themed entertainment throughout the six hour festival with Neston Ecumenical Choir opening the proceedings with carol singing and the opportunity to sing-a-long.
Also on offer was hand-bell ringing by the Wirral Ringers, performances from Woodfall primary and Neston high schools, music from Scrooge, also from Little Actors and thanks to the Rotary Club a visit from Father Christmas in all his spectacular Victorian finery who greeted children in his front parlour in the Town Hall.
The lights were switched on by the vicar of Neston, the Rev Alan Dawson, Rotary Club president, Alan Brown and town mayor Mike Shipman to music from the Wirral Pipe Band.
Hot food and drinks and farmers’ market produce ensured visitors could enjoy festive treats whilst soaking up the atmosphere and mingling with Victorian characters from Neston Players on the market square.
There were also children’s craft activities, Victorian wreath-making demonstrations and a Victorian food exhibition in the town hall with historian, Lena Shiell.
The mayor described the festival as ‘an outstanding success’ with stallholders, performers and visitors, many in period costumes, looking forward to next year.
Ahead of the event, the town events manager Claire Evans had promised ‘the sights, smells and sounds of Neston’s Victorian Christmas Festival will be a magical experience for both adults and children alike’.