THE first week of December has been celebrated with a bang in one coastal town in Cornwall.
Newquay BID, Experience Newquay, Visit Newquay and Newquay Town Council created a full community festive extravaganza over the first weekend of December, as a beautiful lantern parade preceded the Christmas lights switch-on before an evening of shopping, entertainment, music, merriment, fireworks and celebration.
Locals and visitors alike ushered in the most wonderful time of the year, gathering together to light up Newquay’s streets, skies and town centre on Friday, December 1, 2023.
The Community Lantern Parade returned this year, thanks to funding from Newquay BID and Experience Newquay. Over the past few weeks, school and community lantern-making workshops have been run across the town by Blystra Arts and funded by Experience Newquay. A number of those schoolchildren gathered together to create a magical spectacle, proudly parading their handmade lanterns on the big switch-on night.
Following the lantern parade, the actual switch-on ceremony was performed by the mayor of Newquay, Margaret North. The new Christmas lights throughout the town are funded by Newquay BID and Newquay Town Council.
Joe Hurworth, Oll An Gwella and The Quest all entertained with music alongside The Greatest Showman tribute act ‘The Show Must Go On’ on the Marcus Hill Stage. Right across the weekend, the Newquay Christmas Market delivered beautiful and unique gifts and produce from makers and growers from the local area.
But the Christmas fun doesn’t stop with the switch-on weekend. From Monday, December 4 until Wednesday, December 20, 2023 the lanterns made by local school children and organisations will be displayed in windows across the town centre as part of Experience Newquay’s free festive family-friendly lantern trail.
Each lantern has been given a letter, and participants follow a map, find clues and solve a mystery word. Once solved, a festive prize will be available from collection at Visit Newquay Tourist Information Centre (TIC). The map will also be available from the TIC or downloadable online from Monday, December 4.
In addition, Visit Newquay has also set up another town trail where hunters can help find Santa's helpers across businesses in the town. Visit Newquay and Love Newquay are inviting families to search for them, and Santa has kindly left a gift for each child who finds them all.
Clue sheets will be available from Visit Newquay Tourist Information Centre from Saturday, December 16, 2023, and Christmas hunters will have until 2pm on Christmas Eve to return their completed forms and receive a thank you prize from a grateful Santa.
Santa himself will be flying into town on Saturday, December 16, at Newquay Library with pre-bookable slots throughout the day, via the Newquay Town Council website from Friday, December 16. Newquay Town Centre will have Christmas street entertainers and the Newquay Town Band performing carols on the Saturdays leading up to Christmas.
Dave Cheney, the Community & Tourism Committee Chair for Newquay Town Council said: "We were delighted that this year we could start Christmas with the traditional Light Switch On. The Christmas Market and entertainment on both the Bandstand and stage outside the Council Offices all added to the spirit of everything, ensuring a great festive time was had by one and all."
"I wish to thank our team who organised this, especially Melissa Hallam our Events Coordinator, and BID Manager Mark Warren who constantly collaborated with the Council to ensure it was all a success.
"During December, events will be continually happening all round town including Newquay Band playing carols on Saturdays, culminating on Christmas Eve when the Rotary Club hold their traditional event on Bank Street. In the meantime, on behalf of the Community and Tourism Committee I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a wonderful 2024."
Manager of Love Newquay and Newquay BID, Mark Warren, said: "It’s such a joy to see all our proactive organisations including Experience Newquay, Newquay Town Council and Visit Newquay coming together in this way to optimise our Christmas kick-off celebrations.
"It’s brilliant to have the involvement from the schools and community members with the lantern workshops and parade, and also to see the market stall holders, the musicians and the street performers coming together in one place with our own BID businesses."
"Businesses can’t fail to see an upsurge in takings on these huge festive nights, and these special weekends, with all the additional footfall heading into the centre of town.
"The ongoing Lantern and Santa’s Helpers Trails, as well as the regular concerts and street performer appearances, give families even more fun reasons to head into Newquay and consider shopping sustainably whilst supporting our plethora of talented and committed retailers.
"Across the whole period, Christmas deal-hunters will also be able to find local businesses showcasing offers from the Love Newquay Loyalty Card – so again, everyone wins!"
The Newquay Town Council Events Team is also hard at work to ensure an epic send-off to one year, with a memorable seeing in of another one. The skies over Newquay are set to dazzle again with the New Year's Fireworks display at midnight on Sunday, December 31.