May 21 2013 Latest news:
Friday, November 23, 2012
Thousands of people will descend on Hampstead on Sunday as the village is transformed into a winter wonderland for what is expected to be the biggest and best Christmas festival yet.
Everyone from Father Christmas and his reindeer to Shrek and Princess Fiona from the West End musical will be in attendance for what has become a red letter day in Hampstead’s festive calendar.
Actor Sean Bean from Lord of the Rings, and comedian and impressionist Jon Culshaw will be on hand to turn on the lights in the village and bring a sprinkle of celebrity sparkle to the event organised by the NW3 Hampstead Business Group.
Alexandra Lavery, co-chairman of the event, said: “There is something for everybody at the festival this year and it will be bigger and better than ever with two A-list celebrities.
“Everything is really falling into place and we’re all excited about it. It should be a great day and everyone will have a whale of a time.”
Kicking off at 10.30am with a free screening of Puss in Boots at the Everyman Cinema, the festival will get under way in earnest at noon as traders line the streets.
Fire-eaters, face painters and magicians will wow the throngs of people gathered in the village as Hampstead High Street and Heath Street close for the festival.
At 4.30pm Shrek and Princess Fiona will give a short performance based on the hit musical before handing over to Bean and Culshaw for the countdown to the switching on of the Christmas lights.
There will also be fun for the all family.
Toddlers can go to Pentameters Theatre for Punch and Judy performances before embarking on a Shrek treasure hunt around the village.
More traditional festive features will also be on show in the shape of Father Christmas in his grotto.
If it’s action you’re after then the nine fairground rides in Hampstead High Street and wandering fire-eaters and magicians should be enough for any thrill seeker, and all to the tune of an assortment of jazz bands on the main stage.
The Rock Choir, who have performed on BBC’s The One Show, will be followed by Roundhouse regulars the Runner Brothers and Mad Dog Rock – featuring John Moss of Culture Club – will round things off before Shrek and Fiona.
Shoppers are also catered for, with more than 80 stalls lining the streets, joined by arts and crafts pop-up shops from Marylebone and Broadway markets.