By Andy Tong andy@timesoftonbridge.co.uk

THIS year’s eagerly awaited Tonbridge Rotary Christmas Festival will take place over three days from Friday November 24 to Sunday November 26.

The festivities start with a Family Fun Fair in Sovereign Way mid car park on Friday from 6-10pm; it will also be open on Saturday from midday to 10pm and on Sunday from midday to 8pm. Alongside the rides there will be sideshows, arcades, toffee apples and candy floss.

BAND ON THE ROAD TS Brilliant will march down the High Street

The big day is Sunday, with a packed programme of events starting at 1.50pm with the Sea Cadets and Marine Cadets TS Brilliant Reunion Band marching through the High Street. They have won numerous awards at Area Band Competition, including Best Band, Best Dressed Band, Best Drum Major, Best Solo Bugler and Best Solo Drummer.

The Cadets meet every Tuesday and Thursday at their hall on Albion Road in Tunbridge Wells. There is also a Junior Cadets section on Thursdays, while band practice is on Wednesdays. For more information, call 01892 522559.

At 2.25pm, the on-stage musical entertainment begins at the top end of town. The local Razzamataz Theatre School will perform with students ranging from two years old to 18. Razzamataz holds singing, dance and drama lessons on Saturday mornings at Hayesbrook School in Brook Street, with free taster sessions available – call Eve on 07401 801318 for more information.

HIT THE HIGH NOTES
Tonbridge Community Singers will fill the air with song

The Tonbridge Community Singers take to the stage at 3.25pm. The choir has been performing a wide repertoire of music for over ten years under the directorship of Helen Walker and accompanist Carolyn Cabrera.

They meet at the Delarue Hall on Shipbourne Road from 7.15-8.45pm every Wednesday during term time. Anyone with a passion for singing is welcome to join in and have fun. Search for Tonbridge Community Singers on Facebook for more information.

SCREEN STARLET Courtney Hadwin is this year’s celebrity visitor

Then comes this year’s celebrity appearance, by Courtney Hadwin, a finalist in the The Voice Kids UK. The 13 year old from Peterlee in County Durham is certainly coming a long way to sing for the town, and she will no doubt bring sprinkle some stardust on the celebration.

On the ITV show she performed hits like Dancing in the Street by Martha Reeve and The Vandellas and Tina Turner’s Nutbush City Limits.

Courtney will be followed at 4pm by a 40-minute set from Hobo and the Hippies with their trademark brand of original folk and country songs, banter and humour.

Look out for stomping numbers like Dead Man’s Eye, which will make you feel like you’re on board a rickety pirate ship, as well as the musicianship of Pale Lady and the three-part harmonies of Bolt Down the Hatches, a crowd favourite.

ARE YOU HOOKED? The cast of the Tonbridge Community panto Peter Pan

At 4.45pm, the cast of the Lions’ Tonbridge Community panto, Peter Pan, will join the party. They will be performing at The Angel Centre on Saturday December 9 and Sunday December 10 at 2pm and 6pm.

They will join the Mayor of Tonbridge & Malling, Cllr Roger Dalton, on stage to switch on the Christmas lights at 5pm. Courtney will then return to the spotlight to sing another of her hits.

Then it’s the turn of Roxxon, a Kent band who will provide a wide variety of contemporary pop and rock party hits that are guaranteed to get the crowds dancing.

GET READY TO ROCK Roxxon will bring a raucous end to the music

The music will continue until 6pm, when there will be a spectacular firework finale over Tonbridge Castle. The day’s events end at 6.15pm.

The Hartley Morris Men will be performing all around the event throughout the day, and there will be stalls and other street performers in the High Street.

The Morris Men are celebrating their 65th anniversary this year. They are based in Wrotham and practice there in the village hall every Thursday evening from September to April. For more information, visit www.hartleymorrismen.org.uk

Cllr Maria Heslop, Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “As always, this year’s festival – with all the drama of the lights switch on, live music performances and the fireworks spectacular, looks sure to be a great afternoon out for the whole family.”

She added: “A big vote of thanks to the Rotary Club of Tonbridge for organising this fabulous event once again, and to the Times of Tonbridge, Shaw’s Leisure and KMFM, together with other High Street retailers, for sponsoring the event.

“I hope many people come along to join in with and enjoy the festivities throughout the weekend.”

For more information about the Tonbridge Christmas Festival, please contact Tonbridge Rotary Club by emailing: gordon.court301@btinternet.com