When did the Festival of Xmas Trees first start and how did the idea come about?
The festival first started in 2008 so it’s our 8th year.
Our ‘Events’ committee asked if we could give it a try and at the start it was called the Christmas Tree Festival. However people thought it was a festival based around one main tree in the church so we re-named it Festival of Christmas Trees.
There were over 70 Xmas trees last year, is this your maximum capacity and how many did you have when it first started?
70 trees is our maximum and we had 50 trees when we first started with 100 people through the door. It was originally planned for the 2nd weekend in December but was soon changed to the first weekend to avoid clashing with other activities closer to Christmas.
Last year we had over 5,000 through the doors during the weekend.
We get many children from the local schools attending and some people who simply like to sit and contemplate.
The Festival is open:
Friday 4th December – 10am – 9pm
Saturday 5th December – 10am – 8pm
Sunday 6th December – 11.30am – 4pm
Followed by the Thanksgiving service at 4.30pm.
Local artists provide music entertainment on Saturday and Sunday afternoon in the church. Refreshments are available throughout the day at the Belmont Centre and the area has access for the disabled.
Last year Uckfield FM helped us to secure an interview with BBC South East.
How far in advance do you have to start preparing?
We usually start planning and preparing about 6 months in advance, then everything starts the Monday before
Do the proceeds for the festival go to the church or local charities?
A percentage of the donations go to the Children’s Society, a national charity we always support. They organise their own ‘Christlingle’ service here on the 2nd Sunday in December.
Where do you source all the trees from?
All the Christmas trees come from Vulcan Farm. We like to keep it local.
Lastly: don’t forget our Christmas Bazaar on Saturday 21st November from 10 – 1pm at The Civic Cenbtre, Uckfield.
Photos courtesy of Uckfield FM and Ron Hill Photography
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