Exmouth’s 2014 Christmas Cracker hailed as best to date

10:21 11 December 2014

Cyclists from Vintage Velo arriving at Exmouth's Christmas Cracker 2014.  Photo: Paul Strange.

Cyclists from Vintage Velo arriving at Exmouth's Christmas Cracker 2014. Photo: Paul Strange.

Archant

This year’s Christmas Cracker – which took place in Exmouth’s Strand and Magnolia Centre on Saturday, December 6 – is being hailed as the best to date. Now in its seventh year, the crowds were kept happy with a non-stop mix of music, entertainment, a lantern parade and fireworks finale.

The festive day began at 11am with the Exmouth Town Concert Band, followed by samba band Street Heat and an enthusiastic set from Centre Stage. Meanwhile, around The Strand, the bustling market – this year increased to 73 stalls – was doing good business. Tombolas and raffles were also in full swing at the charity and community group stalls.

And in the small-ring circus, acts such as Herbie Treehead and John Hicks were keeping the crowds amused. Meandering through it all came cyclists from Vintage Velo, some aboard penny farthings.

As the day progressed, the event spread to the Magnolia Centre, where bell ringers, a rock and pop choir, Street Heat, stilt walkers and Ice Giants lifted the festive spirit to new heights.

Back at The Strand, AJ’s Big Swing Band impressed with a strident swing-era set. Later on, the Exmouth Musical Theatre Company slotted in a boisterous performance, followed by a magical lantern parade from the Magnolia Centre, and Christmas lights switch-on. AJ’s Big Swing Band then gave another sterling set, followed by a popular set from X Factor finalists Rough Copy, and, slightly ahead of schedule, the fireworks finale.

“I’m delighted with it,” said town management officer and event organiser Suzanne Birkett. “It was the busiest and most interesting Cracker ever, with bits and pieces going on all over the place, a wonderful lantern parade and some great performers. It brought so many different aspects of the town and the community together. It was like the best that Exmouth had to offer was on show, all brought together with a lovely atmosphere.”

“It was wonderful,” said Exmouth’s town crier Roger Bourgein, who led the Christmas lights switch-on. “The Cracker showed Exmouth happy with itself. It was a happy, peaceful event. I was proud to be an Exmothian.”

“It was a great event,” said Exmouth mayor, Councillor Bill Nash. “It was bigger and better, with more stalls. It was good to see locally made, hand-crafted goods for sale, allowing people to do their Christmas shopping, supporting local industries.

“The weather was good. The music was superb, from the choirs to AJ’s Big Swing Band and Rough Copy, who finished the afternoon off. The tree lit up when the button was pressed. The children thoroughly enjoyed their lantern parade and helped the countdown when I switched on the lights. A very successful day.”

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