‘Merry and Bright’ will be bringing together lanterns, street entertainment, costumed walkabouts, late-night shopping and the official Christmas lights switch on, to make an unforgettable dark night’s celebration.
The evening kicks off at 17:00 with roving entertainments at various sites across the town including Town Square, St Thomas’s Square, Vernon Square and Minghella Square and down and along Union Street, Cross Street and the High Street. There will be static lantern displays made by schools and local groups on street corners and a special lights interactive space at Vernon Square and at St Thomas churchyard.
At 17:30, the community Lantern Parade sets off from Aspire in Dover Street, led by RAW Samba, with handmade willow and tissue paper creations produced by families from Oakfield and Wootton Primary Schools, a community drop-in workshop, plus some spectacular large articulated lanterns created during an adult and community learning class.
Then, at 19:00, The Grinch, accompanied and ably abetted by Ryde Town Council dignitaries and the legendary Derek Sandy, will officially welcome everyone at Minghella Square and throw the switch for the town’s three static Christmas Tree displays.
Shops remain open and entertainment continues throughout until 20:00.
The New Carnival Company has devised a fun, interactive Elf Window Spotting game to keep families moving around the town. Children (and grown-ups) must look out for the cheeky Elf displayed on a poster in participating shop windows. Anyone can play! Simply use your smartphone to scan the QR code on the Elf’s Christmas Box to reveal a secret code. Collect all 9 codes and you will be able to decipher the magic word or phrase to enter a prize draw and win a Christmas gift contributed by local shops.
Chris Slann, Director of the New Carnival Company said
‘This project has been a fantastic collaboration between three key Ryde organisations – us at the NCC, Ryde Town Council and Ryde Business Association – between us reaching out to as many schools, businesses and community groups as we can. We want the people of the town to be proud of Merry and Bright and feel it belongs to them, to nurture and grow it, to share with Islanders and Visitors alike”
Since the pilot event last December, which was organised at short notice between 2 lockdowns, a host of other local organisations have come forward to contribute in some way, including Network Ryde, The Ryde Society, VIVA Carnival Club, the Royal Victoria Arcade, Vectis Brass Band, TheatreTrain, amongst many others.
It is planned that Merry and Bright will become an annual event for the town.
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