Lights and laughter, thrills and frills, Light Up Orpington is back again in 2022. Sunday evening’s downtown spectacle drew many to the annual Christmas Lights Festival.
At half past five, streams of people were already flowing along the main pedestrian street. Closer to the war memorial, there were several fairground activities, including a thrill ride, a mysterious glass maze and the inviting Crooked Cottage, all a paradise for crazy little ones. Families, friends and couples strolled through the endless number of stalls: Candy Cottage, VR Games, Giant Snow Globe, Hot Chocolate, Donuts and German Chocolate Kisses to name a few. Acro dancers in Santa costumes twirled with brightly lit hula hoops. Many were overwhelmed with pleasure, tasting a hot glass of traditional mulled wine, saturated with aromatic spices, which warms the bitter November cold. A few steps further and the heavenly smell of roasted chestnuts and cinnamon sugar woven together enveloped passers-by, tempting them to eat to their heart’s content.
The main highlights of the tours were undoubtedly the carousel and the Ferris wheel – both decorated with twinkling lights, as well as long, unappetizing queues. Christmas carols blared from the loudspeakers near the main stage. Popular hits and holiday tunes have brought back wave after wave of nostalgia, from Merry Christmas Everyone to Jingle Bell Rock. Throughout the evening, the main stage featured a collection of live acts, including Renegade Blues Brothers and Dread Center (as well as Walnuts on the second stage).
Starting at 5.30pm, Lucy Griffiths Dance and Theater academy performed a variety of spectacular dances in front of Walnuts Shopping Centre. Some were mesmerized by the adorable group of young children, while others were amazed by the infectious energy and technical prowess of the advanced group. Not far away, the playground near the library turned into a mini Christmas extravaganza. The successful Fresh Donuts stall sold hot churros and donuts with a choice of 4 delicious toppings – Belgian chocolate, white chocolate, Nutella and Biscoff.
As the fireworks finale approached, darkness engulfed the sky completely, bringing with it an unbearable icy cold. Despite this, there was still plenty of good laughs to be had as attendees feasted on grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. Finally, the crowds made their way to the best viewing spots, heads nodding in anticipation like ducks in a river. Finally, the fireworks started just before 7. The flickers and bursts of colors, dancing in harmony, painted their stories on the vast canvas of the clear night.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable experience and definitely worth attending again.