What the Dickens? Worcester’s fun-packed Victorian Christmas Fayre is back
Brush off your bonnet, bust out your top hat and get ready to step back in time again for Worcester's Victorian Christmas Fayre! The truly spectacular event returns from Thursday 1 to Sunday 4 December, with over 150 stalls filling the city's streets.
Now in its 30th year, the Victorian Christmas Fayre is one of the most prestigious street fayres in the Midlands. The event regularly attracts over 150,000 people across the four days - contributing an estimated £7 million to the local economy each year.
The Fayre is a chance to step back in time, enjoying the sights, smells and sounds of how Christmas might have looked 150 years ago as the Victorian atmosphere fills the historic streets of Worcester. Seasonal stalls will be in place in High Street, Cathedral Square, Pump Street, New Street, Cornmarket and – for the first time – The Shambles.
Visitors can enjoy festive traditions like roasted chestnuts and mulled wine, pick up locally-crafted unique festive gifts, and be delighted by a host of street entertainment, including stilt-walkers and appearances by beloved characters from Victorian fiction including Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, and Scrooge from Charles Dickens' A Christms Carol.
And don't miss out on the many rides and traditional entertainment around the city centre, including the beautiful carousel in Cornmarket car park and kids' rides in Lower Broad St, the latter funded by Worcester BID.
This year's show will also include, for the first time, 'Hoops, Ribbons and Quirky Dances', a spectacular street performance in The Shambles featuring 30 members of the city-based Dancefest troupe. They'll be delighting visitors and shoppers on Saturday 3 December, at 3.30pm and 4.30pm.
And for a taste of the dark side of a Victorian Christmas, the gates will once again be thrown back on 'Gin Lane' between New Street and The Shambles. Produced by Clik Clik Collective, Gin Lane will be home to an unsavoury world of debauched inhabitants, cast out of society and looking to make a quick sixpence or two!
"The Victorian Fayre always brings a touch of festive magic to Worcester's streets and we can't wait to once again welcome thousands of visitors to enjoy one of the highlights of the Christmas calendar," says the Mayor of Worcester, Councillor Adrian Gregson.
"Many of the gifts on sale at the Fayre's stalls are unique items made by local craftspeople – so if you're after a present that no-one else will have, Worcester is the place to be from Thursday 1 to Sunday 4 December! And the icing on the cake is the great fun-packed programme of street entertainment for all the family to enjoy!"
It all starts with the traditional official opening ceremony on the evening of Thursday 1 December. Worcester Cathedral will host a community carol service at 4.45pm, followed at 5pm by the procession from the Cathedral to the Cornmarket, where the Mayor will officially declare the Fayre to be open.
Carols will be sung by the Worcester Cathedral Voluntary Choir accompanied by the Salvation Army, and there will be a short Bible reading and prayer. The opening ceremony will finish shortly after 6.00pm.
Across the weekend there will be music and community entertainment, on the main stages in Cathedral Square and Bell Square in Crowngate. The Cardinal's Hat will host a stage in Friar St and, for the first time, St Swithun's Church in Church St will also be hosting performances.
For visitor information, go to www.worcesterchristmasfayre.co.uk or visit the Worcester Tourist Information Centre, next door to The Guildhall on High Street.