Fakenham’s Christmas Tree Festival

Author: Elaine Burbridge

Published on: 25 June 2017

Organised by a team of six, planning begins in January.

The Festival is launched in early April. 1 June is the deadline for charities to apply to take part. In October all details are explained at the mandatory charities’ meeting. Gradually relationships are built between all participants. The Festival runs for eight days, including two Thursdays (Market Day)

For the Festival, each of the 55 charities decorates and remains responsible for their tree, generously provided by Fakenham Garden Centre. Each charity provides their own money bucket and empties it daily, keeping all their donations and informing us afterwards of their total. They also provide help with stewarding, etc.

Entry to the Festival is FREE so visitors come again and again, bringing their friends! The church makes money on refreshments and stalls. Prayer is a key part of the Festival, including the quiet chapel, hourly prayers for charities and church, prayer trees where visitors write and hang their own prayer and a non-eucharistic Festival Service on the Sunday morning which includes a blessing of the charities.

Publicity is vital. We send information to news, media and magazines, take posters everywhere we go, use our website and social media and have fliers available for summer visitors to take. Each charity also helps. Word of mouth works too.

The church benefits because many people come and see a vibrant, practical church at the centre of the community. We make new friends and we make money! The charities receive money, publicity and sometimes new helpers. The town appreciates the publicity for Fakenham and benefits from the extra visitors who also patronise shops, restaurants and take-aways.

Come and see for yourself! 30 November to 7 December 2017 in Fakenham Parish Church. One of the team is always willing to talk about our Festival.

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Elaine Burbridge

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