Residents aim to keep festive spirit alive despite Whittlesey Christmas Extravaganza cancelled
PUBLISHED: 14:54 24 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:54 24 September 2020
Coronavirus may have halted this year’s Whittlesey Christmas Extravaganza, but organisers hope they can still provide some community spirit during the festive season.
The annual event was cancelled this summer due to the ongoing pandemic, which has not happened often in its history, where families can enjoy a range of attractions, from live entertainment to raffles and puppet shows.
“We are trying to organise something for the actual switch-on which might involve charity, but so much of this is depending on what Covid throws at us,” Lynn Palmer, chair of the Whittlesey Extravaganza, said.
So far, the annual Christmas Tree exhibition held at the town’s St Mary’s Church has been cancelled and it’s hoped the traditional Christmas lights switch-on will take place.
It’s uncertain if the festive floats, ran by Whittlesey Lions and Whittlesey Round Table, will go ahead. However, Stuart Rayner, chairman of Whittlesey Round Table, is optimistic the annual float can still run this year.
“I took it on at Christmas last year because they had no Round Table members. It is not just for kids, but the adults that also enjoy it. It will not be the same without a float,” he said.
Music, bus and the Straw Bear festival were all stopped due to the lockdown, and with the annual festivities in danger of being missed, mayor of Whittlesey Councillor David Mason admitted this is a decision out of their control.
“The impact on us would be like any other town, it’s going to be depressing for people in business and in general, but that’s something that is out of our hands,” he said.
“I love Christmas like everyone else, but what can we do?”
No plans have been finalised on if or how Whittlesey will mark Christmas, but what is certain is that community spirit will live on, no matter what.
“At this moment, nothing has been written in stone because we are leaving it till the last minute to see what happens,” Lynn said.
“As a community, it’s going to have a huge impact because it’s a big event. Charities all have stalls and local businesses that were open are also going to lose out.
“Hopefully next year, we will be in a different situation. If things improve, it will be important to run the event because it’s a way of the town celebrating in the run-up to Christmas.”
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