Friday, 17 September 2021

Shop till you drop at new Hootenanny Sunday

THE Henley Christmas Festival and and High Street Hootenanny will take place next weekend.

THE Henley Christmas Festival and and High Street Hootenanny will take place next weekend.

The annual festival will be opened by town crier Ian Beyts at 5pm on Friday and starts with the traditional children’s lantern parade, featuring pupils from the town’s primary schools.

They will be led by Father Christmas around the town centre, finishing at the town hall in Market Place. Father Christmas will then move to his grotto at King’s Arms Barn while stalls and attractions will be opened around the town for visitors to enjoy.

As well as the traditional food and drink and crafts stalls, fairground rides will run in Hart Street, Bell Street and Duke Street. Many businesses will also take place in a late-night shopping event and will stay open until 9pm.

The Mayor, Lorraine Hillier, and the winner of her Christmas card design competition, which is supported by the Henley Standard, will turn on the lights of the 40ft Norwegian spruce Christmas tree in Market Place at 7pm. They will be accompanied by Mark Armour, chief executive of Invesco Perpetual.

This will be followed by carol singing on the town hall steps, with visitors accompanied by a choir from Gillotts School.

The Mayor said: “I’m very much looking forward to it, it will kick-start everybody into the Christmas mood. The town was very busy last weekend but it has been quiet in the weeks leading up to it. This will get everyone in the Christmas spirit.

“It’s always a really nice event and hopefully it won’t be too cold! As long as it’s not raining we should be alright and it will be a good day which the whole town can get involved with.”

Next Sunday, more than 80 Henley businesses will take part in the first hootenanny event.

The shops will open their doors from 11am to 4pm, with several businesses opening specially for the hootenanny. Children’s dance troupe Stephanie’s Stage Stop will kick-off the event at the Christmas tree and members of the Henley Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society will sing carols in Duke Street.

There will be musical performances by groups from Acoustic@Magoos at Boatique and Central Home and by Henley Music School in the Bell Bookshop and Louise Claire Millinery.

Several businesses will also host their own attractions including make-up demonstrations, tealeaf readings and wreath-making. The Kenton Theatre in New Street will offer face painting, ice cream and a visit from the dame in this year’s pantomime, Jack and The Beanstalk, and at the River & Rowing Museum in Mill Meadows, children will be able to meet Mr Toad from Wind in the Willows and Father Christmas.

Jonkers bookshop will have Night Before Christmas-themed fun for children as well as festive readings from local authors Amanda Jennings and Mike Read, while Oxfam in Market Place will host storytelling sessions for children. Local historian Elizabeth Hazeldine will give a free walking tour of the town centre. 

Other businesses taking part include Space NK, Upstairs and Downstairs, White Gdn, Henley Pet Shop, Henley Royal Regatta, Henley Sports, Hubbledays, Liz Felix Millinery and Way’s Bookshop. The event is supported by estate agent Davis Tate.

Earlier on Sunday, hundreds are expected to take part in the fifth annual Santa on the Run fun run, which is sponsored by the Henley Standard.

The run, which starts at 10am, sees participants dress up in Christmas-themed costumes and take on the two-mile, off-road route which starts and finishes at the River and Rowing Museum in Mill Meadows.

All runners will be given refreshments including mince pies after the event, while prizes will be given to the fastest runner under 14, the best dressed family, best dressed adult, best dressed runner under 10 and the best dressed team.

Tickets are £6 for adults, £4 for under-10s or £14 for a family ticket of four. Proceeds will be donated to the Mayor’s charities. To enter, visit www.santa

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