It was ‘ho ho ho’ in Helsby as more than 2,500 people flocked to the village’s second Ho Ho Helsby Christmas community event.
After a year of fundraising by the volunteer group, buoyed by grants from national funds and local council schemes, there was said to be ‘huge excitement’ at the prospect of even more attractions and over 45 stalls.
Entertainment on offer included an ice rink, live reindeer, ponies and a huge live music stage in the centre of the village.
Despite a damp start to the day, locals and visitors soon gathered to give their support and were enjoying artisan craft stalls, a magical Santa’s grotto at the Old Bank Tea Room, known as ‘Ho Ho HQ’ and even dancing in the street to the local talent, including Car Fest North performers ‘Off The Grid’.
New taproom ‘Beer Heroes’ at Helsby Station held a craft beer festival with a DJ and even supplied the village’s own ‘Ho Ho Helsbeer’ brewed less than three miles from the village.
Delighted chairman Dianne Walker said: “It is estimated there were over 2,500 visitors again this year and they were rewarded with a spectacular procession of floats bearing school and nursery pupils and cub scouts as well as the local church. There was even a Hawaiian themed float with a jacuzzi courtesy of local employer Heat Trace.
“Mavis Plant Hire supplied the vehicles in the procession again, RSK, Essar, CF Fertilisers and Andrew Hayes contributed substantial donations too towards the event and the decorating of the village while an on-line giving page reached over £500.”
She continued: “What has been most rewarding this year is that local businesses, large and small and residents have really invested in the event in terms of money and time.
“Volunteer marshals also came to help from all walks of the community and did a very professional job.
“Local police cadets were invaluable in their support throughout the day and the local PCSOs were snapped enjoying the music.
“The event was always intended to be fully inclusive, something for everyone and the demographic of the day was captured in the photographs. Young and old, able and disabled were all welcomed.”
The group of 25 members has revealed it is already committed to arranging another event in 2018 ‘but will now be hibernating until spring’.