Community spirit lit up West Lindsey for Christmas

Collage of Christmas Lights Festival photos

Thousands of people turned out to experience West Lindsey’s magical two-day Christmas Lights Festival, held in Gainsborough at the weekend.

The event was the perfect way for our residents to get in the festive spirit, which included some traditional carol singing on the main stage - thanks to talented performances of local school children, the Rock Choir and some amazing acts.

Isabelle Shannon (8) was part of the choir from Benjamin Adlard School in Gainsborough who performed Christmas songs for the crowds. She said:

“It was super fun singing on stage, I loved singing all the songs.” Her mum Chelsea Kirman added: “I was super proud of Isabelle.”

Nine-year-old Hugo Lane of Morton Trent Side School, took part in the Christmas carols and had a go at the high striker, winning a medal. He said:

“I have loved the burgers and enjoyed singing rocking around the Christmas tree.” His mum Gina added: “It has been brilliant and Hugo’s school choir sang. It’s great the rides are free as the kids wanted to go on them all.”

Cllr Paul Key, who is both a West Lindsey District Councillor and a Gainsborough Town Councillor, handed out selection boxes to the children’s choirs. He said:

“The singing was fantastic from the schools who really went above and beyond. I think it’s really helped to get people into the Christmas spirit.”

We were delighted to welcome the Ambassadors, a brass band that wowed the crowds with their set pieces. Families soaked up the atmosphere as the children were able to enjoy free rides throughout the two days, including a carousel, swing boats and challenge themselves to have a go at the High Stricker to win a medal.

The event, which was a partnership between West Lindsey District Council and Gainsborough Town Council, was made extra special thanks to funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Cllr James Plaistow, Deputy Mayor of the Town Council, attended the event and said this year’s Christmas Tree received a lot of positive comments. He added:

“There was lots of activities in the Market Place and it was so good to see it extremely well attended, it has been such a good atmosphere.”

Families, children and colleagues queued up to enter our festive snow globe, which was the perfect backdrop for those festive pictures.

Rebecca Matthews from Scotter and her children Matilda (4) and Henry (7), enjoyed playing in the snow globe and throwing snowballs. She said:

“It’s nice to see all the activities available and the singing from the schoolchildren has been really good. It has been a nice community feel, glad we came straight from school to join in.”

She was joined by her friend Angela Robinson and her children Leander (4) and Ezekiel (1) from Kirton in Lindsey. She said:

“It has been amazing and it’s lovely the rides have been free as when you have two that can go on rides it can be costly, but they have been able to go on them, it’s great.”

Visitors warmed up with a hot chocolate and tucked into some delicious food, thanks to an array of traders who supported the event. Crowds were able to start their Christmas shopping by popping into the local shops or stopping buy some of the specialist traders for those little gifts.

Throughout the two day there was free balloon modelling for children, some cheeky dancing elves, LED presents walking around, Christmas Mickey and Minnie Mouse, a laser show and more, all of which provided a lovey backdrop for those festive photo opportunities.

Tia Hodgkin (13) and Amira Venemore (9), had their picture taken with the led Christmas presents. Tia said:

“It’s very good, we have enjoyed everything, the music, the lights, the large Christmas tree.”

On top of that families could make their own special reindeer food, from oats, seeds and a sprinkle of cranberries, which they were able to take home, free of charge.

Brooke Flear (12) and Jack Flear (8), also made some reindeer food. Brooke said:

“I enjoyed making the reindeer food and I even wore my Christmas dress, which has reindeer on it.”

Connie (8), Charlotte (4) and Worren (12), also made their own reindeer food. Connie said:

“We have made reindeer food before, but it has been good, we all enjoyed it and we are looking forward to Christmas. “

But it wouldn’t be Christmas without a special guest appearance from our lovely panto cast from Jack and the Beanstalk, which is performing at the Trinity Arts Centre this December.

Mickey Smith who is playing Jack said:

“We have had a lovely audience in the Market Place in Gainsborough. I hope we see them all at the panto. It’s great for a laugh and that’s why I really enjoy Jack and the Beanstalk. It has been such a great atmosphere.”

He was joined by Steven Hall, who is playing the king in the panto. He performed in Britain’s Got Talent and gave a little taster of what audiences can expect to see at the panto. He said:

“It’s good to be here in Gainsborough, that was a capital of England for a few days. I had never been before the event, but I love it. Trinity Arts Centre looks so nice, and I am looking forward to performing there. It’s going to sell-out, so I hope everyone books their tickets early. We have fun with it so our audience a will and there will be lots of dancing’s md we even have some local talent taking part in it.”

Thomas Tooley from Tooley’s Amusements provided the swing boats, carousel, fairground organ and the high striker, all were free of charge to families attending the event. 

He said:

“It has been very atmospheric. I think it’s because it has a real traditional feel to Christmas celebrations. It’s our first Christmas event and the swing boats have been the most popular ride and for those enjoying them, they have had a great view of the Christmas market. “

Many West Lindsey District Councillors attended the event over the weekend, Cllr Nigel Bowler said:

“What a great community event to get everyone into the mood for Christmas. It is great there are so many free activities and entertainment for families to enjoy which has made the event more accessible to many people.”

Cllr Emma Bailey added:

“It’s been fabulous. I have heard people saying it shows that when the council puts on an event people will come out for it. It has been a great turn out. It’s been a great Christmas festival, with delicious food and tasty hot chocolate.” 

Traders were also quick to praise the event and are hoping to come back for more events in the future.

Nikki Panter and her popular cheesecake stand sold out on day one, which meant at the end of the day she went home to make more cheesecakes for day 2.

Nikki said:

“It has been amazing. I couldn’t believe I sold out on day one as I thought I did enough for the two days. I think it has been a great event, the free rides for the children have really helped to make it.”

Mel Strickland and Phil Gilling manned the Flippin Creps stand. Mel said:

“It has been very busy. I just want to say the Council has been very supportive to us – the reasonable rates and the free car parking for residents and traders has been welcomed as it has helped to bring the crowds in.”

Elliot and Darren Mewse from Hot Choccy said:

“It’s our first time to Gainsborough Christmas Lights Festival and everyone has been so helpful, and we will definitely come back again.” 

Sid’s Treats and Goodies also attended the event. Sid Robbins, who is a regular market trader in Gainsborough, said:

“It has been great. There has been lots of interest, lots of people and sone great entertainment.”

This event has been made possible by funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, and support from Gainsborough Town Council, as well as from our sponsors; Horsleys of Gainsborough, Stallard Kane and SIS Facades LTD.

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