Warwick's Victorian Evening celebrates its 40th anniversary - The Leamington Observer

Warwick's Victorian Evening celebrates its 40th anniversary

A FESTIVE extravaganza is planned as Warwick’s Victorian Evening celebrates its 40th anniversary.

The event returns to the town on Thursday (November 23) with a Victorian market, era-themed rides, street entertainment and the Christmas lights switch-on.

Visitors can browse the stalls which include crafts, gift ideas and festive food and drink, with traders decked out in traditional costume.

Shoppers can also get into the 19th century spirit with the annual competition for the best dressed Victorian, with the winners in both the adult and child categories being announced on stage at 7.30pm.

Prizes include group tickets to Warwick Castle and four main enclosure tickets for Warwick Racecourse.

New for this year, and to celebrate the 40th anniversary, is a Victorian themed photo booth on The Holloway which will be free to use, a new cake walk ride, mime acts, a magician, and a band in Victorian steampunk costume. A fire spinner will be performing on Brook Street.

The main entertainment on the stage gets underway at 5pm, before the lights are switched on at 7pm.

The Civic procession, including Warwick town councillors and members of the Warwick Court Leet, will make its way to Market Square where Warwick mayor Coun Oliver Jacques will turn on the lights alongside local young boxers Serena Mali and Jaya Kalsi, as well as organisers of the original Victorian Evening.

The first Victorian event, then known as the ‘Victorian Street Fair’, was held in the town on Thursday December 8 1983 organised by the Warwick Chamber of Trade. Then chairman John Shaw, who ran the Post Office on Smith Street with his wife Janet, organised the event with other members of the Chamber including Don Hanson who ran the leather shop on Swan Street.

With little money but a lot of determination, they managed to put on a spectacular event which spanned from St John’s House all the way up to Market Square.

Janet Shaw said: “The first Victorian Street Fair was organised to help unite the town and the businesses all the way from Smith Street to Swan Street. Our first event was put together with only a £7 budget and a lot of begging and borrowing.

“We managed to bring the town together, an estimated 20,000 people were in the town centre and the police were even having to turn people away.’’

Any residents that have images from the first Victorian Street Fair events are encouraged to share them by email to [email protected]

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