Well...what a Sunday that was! The heartwarming generosity, the selfless endeavors and the months of preparations proved that the festive spirit is alive and well in our little market town of Dumfries. The streets were transformed and filled with life and it was a delight to see all the smiling happy faces enjoying all the town had to offer at the Dumfries Christmas Festival & Lights Switch On. From storytelling to fairy making workshops, reindeer to horse and carriage rides, the Dumfries Makers Market and Paint The Toon with D-Lux, there was something for everyone.
The incredible atmosphere was such a pleasure to experience with the community coming out in support at our festival. The town was bustling with smiles, laughter and Christmas cheer. An unbelievable 7,000 people or more crowded onto Dumfries High Street to witness Santa Claus, Provost Tracey Little, Queen of the South Abbie Davidson, Eva, Saskia and Sonny push the switch to turn on the Christmas lights.
Of course the event couldn't have happened without the dedication of our army of wonderful volunteers, supporters, sponsors and local businesses working together to make it happen. We have so many people to thank, so (in no particular order!) I hope you will join us in a virtual round of applause and grateful thanks for...
The People's Project, Dumfries for their generous donation to our budget, we couldn't have pulled this off without it! Dumfries and Galloway Council for giving The Guild Dumfries this wonderful opportunity to organise the whole event, Dumfries Galloway Police Division for help, patience and support, EFAR (Events First Aid and Rescue) Kenny Bowie and the team from SP Energy Networks for lighting up the market and providing us with power. Marks and Spencer for catering and being a venue for a school choir. Boots High St for being a venue for school choir, book collection point and especially to manager Heather Knaggs for wrapping over 200 books! Jim Ireland at Loreburne Shopping Centre for donating airtime and production costs for our adverts on Westsound and giving us an empty shop to store all our gear!
Myra Smith at Morrisons, Anne Croucher Tesco Dumfries Extra, Serving Our Community and Moat Brae for being our book collection points George from Rent A Reindeer for the beautiful reindeer family and Tartan Carriages for the magnificent horse and carriage rides. Oakbank Waste Management Ltd for donating extra bins for the town centre Homebase Dumfries for their donation towards the Santa's grotto and the young people of Oasis Youth Centre and St Joseph's Collage for their help in creating and painting the wooden decorations Lee Michael Medd for being an incredible compere, Santa Claus for sparing the time to come on the day!!!! (We know him!) Creetown Initiative Ltd. for the donation of market stalls Castle Douglas Development Forum for the loan of gazebos Sandy Sweetman and team at SW Audio for all the amazing tech and stage set up. Philip Anderson-Dyer, Sal Cuddihy and backstage crew. Simon at First Point of Contact - FPC Security LTD for his endless patience and professionalism and Lowland Training Services Ltd for being a venue for steward training. John, David and Robbie D-LUX for their fabulous interactive light installation and The Stove Network for being the venue. Mary at Mostly Ghostly Tours, Susi Briggs Nip Nebs and Tom Hughes for their wonderful storytelling sessions and Kings Coffee & Books Frothy Bike Co. and Waterstones Dumfries for hosting as venues. Connor Nelson, King of the Elves and all round top lad!
Graham Man with a van, Dumfries Andy at Maxwelltown Roofing Limited and Alex the transporters and heavy lifters! Our incredible performers Devine Tension, Kate Kyle, Caitlin Purdie, Ellie McConnachie, Razzamataz Theatre Schools Dumfries, Next Level School of Dance, Attitude Dance Group, Dumfries School of Dance, Dumfries and Galloway Youth Orchestra, Dumfries Town Band, SING-ergy Community Choir, the cast from Aladdin, Troqueer Primary and Loreburn Primary carol singers. To our talented and dedicated community of makers, creatives & producers for taking part in the most beautiful Christmas market and hosting workshops! Jonny Cartwright Photography for capturing the day on film.
All the marvellous local businesses and individuals, who donated so generously to our Christmas Treasure Trail prizes and took part in it. Alex Murray and staff at Midsteeple for helping us out and giving us a command centre for the event. Garden Wise plant and Garden Centre for loaning us beautiful christmas trees. DGWGO, DG Life, D&G Standard, Dumfries Courier, BBC Scotland, Alive Radio, West Sound Radio, and DCR Online for all their promotion, sharing of posts and help in getting the word out.
Every single person who donated a book to our appeal...we've been inundated and have literally hundreds left to donate to schools and good causes! Extra special thanks to our army of over 100 volunteers, friends family who gave up their time and a Sunday to help wrap books, move, build and then dismantle market stalls, grottos and signage, to steward the event, to make tea and coffee for frozen makers and performers! We hope we haven't missed anyone, but if we have... we thank you too! And finally, to you, the people of Dumfries for supporting the event and turning up in your thousands and making it all worthwhile. We hope you are full to the brim with Christmas cheer! Leah, Kirsten and Natalie will be having a few days off to recover but will be back soon, making plans for the launch of our Dumfries Market Festival on the 14th March 2020.
Have a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year!
PHOTO CREDIT: Jonny Cartwright Photography