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Gravesham Festival of Christmas Lights brings 1,500 people to town centre

PUBLISHED: 13:05 20 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:22 20 November 2017

Gravesend Festival of Christmas Lights 2017. Photo: Sarah Knight

Gravesend Festival of Christmas Lights 2017. Photo: Sarah Knight

Archant

The event was held on Friday afternoon

Christmas lights are now shining over Gravesend after hundreds flocked to the town centre last week.

On Friday, some 1,500 people gathered for the Gravesham Festival of Christmas Lights, which saw the town’s festive lights switched on, with a number of other performances also entertaining crowds.

The event culminated with hundreds of school children leading a lantern parade.

Gravesham Borough Council leader David Turner said: “The town was lit up by hundreds of lanterns as well as smiling faces on Friday and as usual I was very proud of our borough and the residents for putting so much effort in to a fantastic evening.”

A total of 500 pupils attending 10 schools from across the borough set off from Community Square, outside the Woodville Theatre, led by mayor of Gravesham Harold Craske.

From there the parade walked down Windmill Street, New Road, through St George’s Shopping Centre, finishing at Gravesend Borough Market.

As the parade passed by, the town’s Christmas lights were turned on for another year.

Drumming Santa’s brought the event to a close with a performance at the town’s historic 13th century borough market, offering their own take on Christmas songs fused with Bhangra and African drumming.

Stars of this year’s Woodville Theatre pantomime, Sleeping Beauty, then came out to greet the crowds braving the cold weather.

Gurvinder Sandher is artistic director at Cohesion Plus, which led the organisation of the event in partnership with Gravesham Borough Council.

Mr Sandher said: “I was overwhelmed by the positive response we had to the celebrations on Friday. Christmas is always a special time of year for everyone and to see so many people from diverse backgrounds participating in the celebrations was wonderful.

“I believe passionately that the arts are an excellent way of bringing communities together and this was an excellent example of this.

“I have said previously that other parts of the country can learn from the work that we do here in Kent as it is important to celebrate all that binds us together in local communities.”

The Christmas lights event has kicked off a month of festive activities at Gravesend Borough Market in the run up to Christmas.

An ice skating rink has been set up just outside the market, while special themes will take over the site each weekend until December 17.

The first vintage-themed market takes place across this weekend.

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