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Crowds enjoyed all the fun of the fair and more in Oxted town centre on Thursday 15th November, when shopkeepers and local businesses hosted a late-night Christmas shopping spectacular.
The high street was transformed with a Ferris wheel, carousel, side shows, jugglers, and even a fire-eater to warm up the night.
Families climbed aboard a horse and carriage for rides around the town, and children queued to watch a balloon artist or have their faces painted.
A highlight of the evening was the arrival of Santa in a horse drawn carriage, who then rallied the crowds to help him count down to the town’s Christmas light switch on.
“It has been a fantastic turnout – a really lovely local event,” said Oxted resident Lucy Luscombe, who arrived early with her family to enjoy the horse and carriage rides, have dinner in Brisk and await the arrival of Santa.
Many shops unveiled magical Christmas window displays which had been secretly crafted in the run up to the event, and shoppers made an early start on their present buying list while the popular Oxted Band serenaded them with festive music.
The standard of Oxted Unwrapped was so high this year that judges decided to declare joint winners and nominate three shops for highly commended. Neighbouring stores In Station Road East, La Maison Boutique and Pinnacle Home Interiors were joint winners – La Maison with its white and gold themed display featuring the Nutcracker, and Pinnacle with a stunning full-sized wooden reindeer.
“We are delighted with this award – we wanted to keep the window display simple but stunning,” said Shirley Hubsch, owner of Pinnacle Home Interiors who designed the display. “We have been really busy this evening and it has been wonderful to look out to see crowds of people admiring the lovely windows.”
The three highly commended windows were Sew Perfect and Jules Boutique in Station Road West and Cucina Italiana restaurant in Station Road East.
A big hit with youngsters was the gaming bus which allowed them to try out the latest games and consoles, while families delighted in seeing Shrek the Halls for free in the Everyman Cinema.
The Late Night shopping event was organised by Love Oxted, the collective of around 200 town centre businesses working together to make the town a better place to shop, work and spend time.
Tracey Shrimpton, Oxted BID manager, said. “It was a magical evening and marked the start of Christmas in the town. A huge thank you to the Oxted community for supporting the event – the evening gave the shopkeepers, businesses and restaurants the opportunity to showcase all what they have to offer and we are looking forward to extending a festive welcome to shoppers in the run up to Christmas.”
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