Getting back to Victorian values for festive period

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The excitement is mounting as Brighouse prepares to celebrate Christmas with its first Victorian Festival on Saturday, November 30 and Sunday, December 1.

The town centre shops are getting into the festival spirit with Victorian window displays and decorations and staff wearing Dickensian costumes.

Members of Brighouse Business Initiative have laid on a feast of free entertainment for the weekend. Among many delights to look out for will be Winston the Gentleman Juggler, Madame Mango, international circus performer, Fireman Dave, skilled juggler and breather of fire from Hebden Bridge, while Victorian chimney sweep Micky Bimble will circle the town on a Penny Farthing with tricks and laughs.

Throughout the weekend two white shire horses will circle the town every 45 minutes, pulling Father Christmas in a vintage carriage.

There will be Christmas market on both days with more than 80 stalls selling gifts and produce.

One of the highlights of Saturday, November 30 will be a performance by the Northern Lights Street Orchestra, a group of musicians who come together to create a unique night-time, musical feast. The orchestra will lead a spectacular torchlight parade from 4pm on Saturday joined by Father Christmas in his carriage, Queen Victoria and many others, culminating in the traditional Brighouse lights switch-on.

Everyone is welcome to join in the parade – just bring a lantern

At the Salvation Army, King Street, on Saturday there will be regular puppet theatre shows (small charge). Booking is advisable, tickets available from Harrison Lord, Ryecorn Wholefoods and Simply Flowers. Local historian Chris Helme will be giving a talk on ‘Brighouse Christmas Past’ at the Salvation Army on Sunday, December 1 at 3pm. Again there will be a small charge.

For those who need a break from shopping there will tea and coffee stands, a pie stall, roasted chestnuts and much more. Brighouse Rest Centre will be open on the Saturday from 10am for refreshments.

A 20-page souvenir programme of events will be available in Brighouse from Saturday, November 23, and a traditional town crier will keep visitors informed over the weekend.

Festival volunteers are also needed to lend a hand over the weekend. For more information call in at Simply Flowers, The Harrison Lord Gallery or Ryecorn Wholefoods or visit the website www.victorianchristmasfestival.co.uk