Hundreds of residents and visitors enjoyed an afternoon of music, dance, food demonstrations and tastings and community stalls at Crawley Borough Council’s CHIME event, supported by Arts Council England and Same Sky.
CHIME celebrated the town’s cultural diversity with the unifying theme of light and sound.
In the build up to the event, celebratory arts company Same Sky and local artist Rachel Cowell worked with over 600 students across nine local schools to create their own colourful lanterns for the parade and flags and bunting to decorate Memorial Gardens.
Community lantern-making workshops, managed by local community group LPK Learning, also took place in Crawley Library, Crawley Museum, Broadfield Community Centre, Bewbush Youth Centre and Worth Park.
The Bloco Fogo samba band kicked off the afternoon’s events, followed by Euphoria steel pan drum band.
Later on, Fusion 4x4 Bhangra dance group and Lucky Mayo performed as parents and children gathered for the family lantern parade.
Led by Father Christmas, the parade began at the Bandstand in Memorial Gardens and wound its way through Queens Square to the High Street and back through the square accompanied by drummers and steel pans.
After a countdown by the awaiting crowd, Father Christmas switched on the Christmas tree lights.
The evening drew to a close with a spectacular fireworks finale in the Memorial Gardens.
Local organisations including Crawley Hospital Radio, St John’s Church, Phoenix Choir and Crawley Museum hosted community stalls and throughout the afternoon, cultural group, Diverse Crawley offered up an array of taster dishes from around the world, including Sauerkraut Soup from Lithuania, Chicken Biriyani from Kashmir, Fish Pickle from the Chagos Islands, Lentil Soup from the Caribbean and Singing Hinnies from Northumberland.
Cabinet member for Wellbeing, Councillor Chris Mullins, said: “This was a fantastic event and it was brilliant to see so many people enjoying themselves and taking part in the parade. Thank you to Father Christmas who switched on the lights and to everyone who came along.”
For those looking for some Christmas fun, Tilgate Park’s Magical Christmas takes place in the Walled Garden from 30 November, featuring Santa’s Grotto and elf workshop (£12 for the first child and £9 for additional children in the same sitting), Christmas market selling various foods, decorations, gifts, crafts and real Christmas trees, a Narnia® maze with live actor experience (£5 per person) and more!
Over in Goffs Park, Crawley Ice Rink is up and running, complete with an Alpine-themed café, seating and large changing area and viewing positions.
The rink is suitable for anyone over the age of four and any level of ability. Pandas and penguins are available for hire for young skaters.