After welcoming record crowds, it’s safe to say the 2014 Christmas Light Switch On was a huge success for Camberley Town Centre.
The day started bright and early with the traditional farmers’ market being transformed with a traditional festive feel on the High Street. Over 35 stalls selling fresh local produce from meat and fish to pastries and street food, lined the High Street to welcome 1000’s of local visitors. Entertainment was provided throughout the day by local performing arts groups Secret Stage School and Shuffletunes while free face painting and Christmas themed street theatre kept families amused throughout the day.
Inside The Mall, Postman Pat™ came to meet children and pose for photos, while The Rock Choir performed a series of flash mobs across the shopping centre with 70 singers ending in a superb Christmas medley as crowds gathered in anticipation for The Big Switch On. Special guests for the event included Mayor of Surrey Heath Bob Paton, The Camberley Theatre Pantomime cast and Father Christmas himself.
Following on from the switch on, crowds moved over to Park Street where they were entertained by an Elton John tribute to get people into the festive spirit. To end the day, event organisers, Collectively Camberley, added to the magic by making it snow on Park Street while The Rock Choir returned to stage and closed the show with a medley of classics.
Managing Director for Collectively Camberley, Zoe Griffiths said: “It was fantastic to see the local community come together for this great event. Talking with many of the visitors, some hadn’t been to Camberley for a while but were extremely impressed with what we have to offer as a town. Looking at the numbers, the switch on has been the busiest day of the year so far. A great start to the festive season and something our businesses should see ongoing benefit from.”
Collectively Camberley, the company behind the event and the Town Centres Business Improvement District (BID) have revealed a host of Christmas promotions and free events which they’re hoping will entice shoppers into the Town throughout November, December and well into the New Year. The team have worked closely with Surrey Heath Borough Council and The Atrium to secure 2378 free parking spaces after 3pm during late night shopping (each Thursday from 20th November – 18th December) across the town’s main multi-story car parks. In addition to this, Thursday 4 December will have a live ice sculpture display from 3pm where shoppers will be able to witness a 6ft ice figure come to life on Park Street. Collectively Camberley and Surrey Markets will also be extending the regular farmers’ market in December across Friday 19 and Saturday 20 December with the inclusion of local choir groups and street entertainers.
In addition to their events, the BID team have recently released their 4th edition of the popular Little Book of Offers. Giving thrifty shoppers the chance to make some great savings, over 40 local businesses have put forward unique offers valid throughout November. Ten thousand copies of the books were produced and delivered to local residents across the borough and as well as being available in local pick up points in the Town Centre.
Finally, Collectively Camberley are helping to promote Small Business Saturday on the 6th December with a full day of podcasts with some of the Town Centres well known independent retailers. A national campaign created by American Express, Small Business Saturday is a grassroots, non-political, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities.
Operations and Marketing manager for Collectively Camberley, Lucy Boazman says “Camberley Town Centre has over 70 independent businesses, some of whom have been trading in the Town for over 40 years! This is something we’d like to celebrate and give extra support to smaller businesses by encouraging residents to visit these businesses and spend locally this Christmas. Independent Business play a huge role in making Camberley stand out from our competitors and offer that extra special service or product you just can’t get elsewhere or online”
Image with thanks Alan Meeks, Mike Hillman & John Wade