Christmas Officially Started in Devizes on Friday!

Images by Tanya Jurkiewicz Photography

Christmas for me doesn’t start until Jona Lewie Stops the Cavalry, for most of Devizes it’s DOCA’s Lantern Parade and lights switch on. Double whammy Friday evening as I patrolled the Market Place with daughter, deciding if hotdogs or fudge would spoil our pending dinner most. Devizes Town Band did knock out a wonderful Stop the Cavalry, and for that my Lantern Parade was complete and Christmas has officially started.


If I’d argue over a lack of activities for our youngest, it didn’t matter; there was a warmth through the nip in the air in noting every kid, lantern or not, was wrapped in the joy of the moment. The market was bustling. A wide variety of street food stalls, warm clothes, toys and gifts, campaign and charity stands, sweeties and booze buses spilled into the Corn Exchange for a craft fair, and back into the cool night air, where only the square stood vacant marking where the lantern parade would end and Santa would dismount a steam engine and climb the scaffolding chimney to switch the lights on.


Surrounding pubs and cafes were lively, shops stayed open later, and in composition this was exceptionally organised with an ambience of delight and anticipation. The moon landing theme of lanterns was loosely adhered to, with some spectacular efforts, including a 1969-styled Spaceman, but I had to wonder why a whale was present, fantastic though it was not everyone is a Douglas Adams fan. A hilarious dancing chicken to make Bernie Clifton blush confirmed the irrelevance, and all partied or else bobbed around aimlessly.


Outside the Shambles my daughter dragged me kicking and screaming away from the Muck & Dunder mobile rum bar, then the Gourmet Brownie Kitchen stall, and we found a distant viewing spot, being too matured to get hyper about Father Christmas’ arrival; least I pretended.


Yet only as far away as the corner of the Corn Exchange, Papa Noel’s voice was muffled and drained to the point he may well have been talking French. Unsure what he was doing, fart-arsing around as far as I could see, but ordered to film it with a phone despite freezing fingers, nearly seven minutes passed in confusion, and only on social media was I informed he actually did the traditional countdown. This kind of killed the anticipation, as one minute the lights were off, then they were on and that was it; perhaps a loud speaker is needed? I rubbed my stubble in contemplation; might have to await grandchildren before I can really excuse myself to get into the thick of it as we once did!


Saved by the excellent fireworks though, all in all a thoroughly good time was had and Santa hats off to DOCA for what was essentially an event to satisfy all ages, executed with professionalism and with all the joys of the season. I’ve no memory of a Christmas light switch on in other towns, but I’d imagine they’re not this good; makes you proud to be in Devizes.


The fun isn’t over by a long shot though, check our event guide and plan your yule celebrations with Devizine!

© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow) and images (Tanya Jurkiewicz Photography)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.

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