On Saturday the 25th, Walton on Thames high street was set aglow, with all its Christmas lights being turned on in the annual Festival of Light. Held on the last weekend of November, this event marks the start of the Christmas shopping season in Walton. The festival was sponsored by the Heart shopping centre of Walton and it was a truly magnificent event.

The day officially began at 9:30am, when the Christmas market opened, the market this year had various Christmas themed stalls where you could purchase gifts for your family and friends. There were several food stalls, including a delicious churros stand and an ‘all you can fit in the bag’ sweet stall. The festive atmosphere was bolstered by the beautiful and amazing performances that were held in the Heart Plaza and the High Street square, with singing from school choirs, to shows by youth theatre groups and the showcasing of the vocal talents of the band ‘Jafuso Blue’. There were crowds of people gathered to appreciate and enjoy all that was on display.

A particularly notable part of the market was the amount of ‘Young Enterprise’ companies that were gathered to sell and promote their products. Young Enterprise is a charitable scheme that allows young people, to start up their own businesses. It allows them to gain essential skills for later life and empowers them to harness their potential. Multiple young enterprise companies from different schools were at the Festival of Lights, allowing visitors to purchase their products and help to support student enterprise.

The main events of the Festival of Light were the Lantern Parade and the grand Light  Switch-on. The crowds that gathered to witness both of these events were astonishing, and the plaza in front of Sainsbury’s was packed. Samar Sabbagh, a student from Notre Dame school commented that, “At night, Walton lit up! The atmosphere was amazing, spirits high, with everyone getting ready for the Christmas season” And truly, it was a sight to see, lanterns bobbing up and down through the crowds, everyone laughing and enjoying themselves and twinkling lights shining from above and around.

By Darya Vandromme, Notre Dame School