Your guide to all the fun of the Wokingham Winter CarnivalBy Laura Herbert
November 23, 2012
The aroma of mulled wine and warm mince pies will fill the air in Wokingham on Sunday as the annual Wokingham Winter Carnival returns.
This year organisers have opted for a traditional feel with A Dickensian Christmas theme to spread some festive cheer and raise money for local causes.
Thousands of people are expected to fill the town and the organising committee hopes to beat last year’s 20,000 visitors.
Even Ebenezer Scrooge would be tempted by the fun, with free entry and a free programme on offer.
Festivities kick off at 11am with Santa’s Grotto in Wokingham Library, performances on the main stage in Market Place, magic and Punch and Judy shows in Erftstadt Court, and juggling displays.
The Reading Scottish Pipe Band, who performed at this year’s spectacular Olympic closing ceremony, will be playing in Denmark Street.
The music will continue with Wokingham Rock Choir’s hourly performances at Wokingham Methodist Church, in Rose Street, between 1pm and 3pm.
Rosy cheeks will be peering from under woolly hats like Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol as people enjoy traditional songs in the open air.
The day before the carnival, Bracknell and Wokingham Community Band will be performing outside Waitrose at 1.30pm for around an hour helping to promote the popular event.
“We always look forward to handing out Winter Carnival programmes as the band plays,” said Kate Lole, a member of the carnival committee.
“The music is wonderful out in the open air and people often stop to listen before continuing with their shopping.”
On carnival day, carols will be heard around the town as people wander among the stalls and games, with plenty of prizes to be won.
Community band Second Wind will be performing after recently launching and are hoping to recruit some new members, along with Sparkle Wind Band, Wokingham Banditos, and Wokingham Guitar Band, Youth Jazz, and French Horn Ensemble.
As well as great entertainment, visitors can browse more than 100 stalls offering jewellery, books, toys, face painting and personalised gifts.
There will be food vendors offering treats from crepes to jacket potatoes as well as pizza and candy floss. Cold hands will be warmed up with hot chocolate and mulled wine to keep Jack Frost at bay.
The highlight of the event takes place at 4pm when the popular carnival procession winds its way through the town centre.
The dusk will be lit up with lights moving through the town as community groups and Wokingham VIPs wave and smile from floats.
This year, a steam engine, double decker bus and fire engine will take part in the procession, which starts in Shute End car park, making its way along Rectory Road, Wiltshire Road, Peach Street, Denmark Street, Wellington Road and Station Road.
After the carnival, the Rev Nick Thompson and the Youth Brass Band, will lead the annual community carol service in Market Place.
Visitors will be able to return home with smiles on their faces, prizes in their pockets, and a warm festive feeling to keep them going until Christmas day.
The carnival takes place from 11am to 5.30pm on Sunday.
Main stage, Market Place
11.00 – Whistling Woodwind
11.20 – Murphy Brass Band and Farnaby Brass Band
11.40 – Concert Jazz
12.00 – Training Band
12.20 – French Horn Ensemble
12.35 – Youth Jazz
1.00 – Second Wind
1.30 – Hazelgrove Brass Band
1.50 – Percussion Ensembles
2.20 – Concert Band
2.55 – Beiderbecke Brass Band
3.30 – Youth Brass
4.00 – Carnival Procession
starts at Shute End
4.40 – Community Carols led by
the Rev Nick Thompson
All timings are approximate and subject to change.