Festival of Light 2017

With just over three weeks until the annual Festival of Light in Walton on Saturday 25 November, there is plenty of activity going on in the background as organisers Walton on Thames Trading Alliance (WoTTA) finalise the details. Event activity will include a Christmas Street Market between 9.30am – 19.30pm, performances from local school choirs and community singing, acting and dance groups on two stages (The Heart Plaza and The High Street).Creative artists Magpies and Moonbeams are already working with local primary schools and Elmbridge Community Link to start creating the fabulous lanterns for the parade!

NEW for 2017 is the creation of Santa’s Sleigh by the Design & Technology Department of 3 Rivers Academy, aided by an enthusiastic group of year 7 students.  Inspired by the number of requests for ‘selfies with Santa’ at the end of the 2016 event, WoTTA and event main sponsor The Heart Shopping Centre, approached 3 Rivers Academy with the idea to build a sleigh, which could facilitate family pictures with the wonderful Rotary Club Santa.  Designed by Mr Deon Powell, Design & Technology Technician, the sleigh has become a reality under the instruction of Mr Michael Rossi, Head of DT for 3 Rivers.  Working twice a week for six weeks the team of dedicated Year 7 students have used jigsaws, screwdrivers, glue guns and sanders to create the sleigh, which will be unveiled at The Festival of Light and will be in situ in The Heart concourse for the duration of the Christmas shopping season.

Mark Middleton, Centre Manager at The Heart Shopping Centre said, ‘When WoTTA suggested there was an opportunity to work with the local secondary school to create a sleigh feature for the event we at The Heart saw this as a great addition to the centre’s Christmas displays and happily offered to sponsor and support the creation of a great new asset for the town.’

Mr Powell said, ‘My design is based on a traditional Christmas sleigh and will be branded with The Heart and the 3 Rivers Academy logos so that all visitors will know the partnership involved in bringing the sleigh to fruition’.

Year 7 student Eddie said, ‘I am so proud to be part of the small team creating the sleigh, knowing that when I visit The Heart I can say to my family and friends ‘I helped build that!’  Eddie continued, ‘I can’t wait to see the first families taking selfies with the sleigh on November 25th.’

With children’s rides, street performances and the return of the very successful James Neave Santa’s Giving Grotto (this year a stall within the Christmas Market) the High Street will host activities from 9.30am until 19.30pm with local band Jafuso Blue entertaining the crowds after the lantern parade with live music on the High Street Stage. Performances on the Heart Plaza start at 11.30am with the climax of the event the announcement of the winner of the ‘Best Dressed Shop Window Competition’ and the Christmas Tree Light Switch-on’ at 18.00pm.

As a not for profit event, in additional to The Heart sponsorship, grants have been provided by Surrey County Council and The Robert Philips Trust with further sponsorship and support from Co-op Funeralcare, James Neave Estate Agents, Luxfords of Weybridge, McDonald’s, Radio Wey, Sainsbury’s, Walton Charity and Walton Village.

For more information on the programme of events visit: http://www.wotta.co.uk/festival-of-light-2017.html or contact Tracey Blandford, WoTTA email: tracey.wotta@gmail.com