Every year on the second Friday of December, The Hungerford Victorian Extravaganza heralds the arrival of Christmas in the town, as though by magic it is transformed into a wonderland of delights; the High Street and Bridge Street filled with Side-Shows, a Helter-Skelter, a Big Wheel, Steam Engines, Fair-Ground Organs and rides.
The day starts early with local dignitaries in Victorian garb braving the elements, and partaking of a large breakfast on the steps of the Town Hall supplied by the Three Swans Hotel. Pedestrian barriers go up; the lorries start to arrive with all the equipment, shops do their last minute titivation to their Victorian window displays.
At 5pm the official opening takes place with the cutting of the tape and the bands start up. The Scottish Pipe Band, the Hungerford Town Band and others, not forgetting the music of the Victorian Organs, bring the evening to life. The bustling street scene has Punch and Judy shows, Stilt Walkers, Clowns, Jugglers and especially for the children, Father Christmas. Add the smells of roasting chestnuts and it completes the feeling of having gone back in time. Many shops will be open with their staff in Victorian dress, some giving out mulled wine and mince pies. Many local charities will be there with a variety of stalls, tombola’s and even hot soup. At 7.00pm the Grand Parade starts in Bridge Street and progresses up the High Street with the mighty Steam Engines, the skirl of the Pipes, the triumphant blast of the Brass Bands, all the street performers; and as a bonus, Father Christmas with the year’s Carnival Queen.
The evening comes to an end as the fire-works and rockets hurtle into the air from behind The Three Swans Hotel, to provide a fitting finale at 9.00 pm. This is followed by the prize giving for the best dressed shop windows, the best dressed shop assistants, and the best dressed stall holders.
This event is arranged by the Hungerford Chamber of Commerce and its Extravaganza Committee; it attracts more than 10,000 enthusiastic visitors and is all made possible by the generous sponsorship of the business community.
Hungerford Victorian Extravaganza Sponsors 2015
Greenham Common Trust
Town & Manor of Hungerford, Hungerford Town Council, Chilton Estates,
Dick Lovett BMW, Kerridge Commercial Systems, CPI,
Dickins Hopgood Chidley, Walker Logistics
Aqua Financial, CHR Hansen, i3Web, Tomorrow’s Guides, Garden Art Plus, Cobbs Farm Shop, Amtecs, Below Stairs, Clockmaker, Coversure, David Small Solicitor, Derek Loft Light Haulage, Doves Farm, Fare Wise Travel, Furr & Co Jewellers, Howards Pet Care, Hungerford Antiques Arcade, Hungerford Bookshop, Hungerford Jewellers, Hungerford Gourmet Oriental, Hypertec, Hungerford Land Company, Inklings, Montagues Hair Design, The Three Swans Hotel, Newbury Building Society, Nina Clark, PBA Accountants, Russell Marshall, Sam Sanchez, Saxon Industries, Peter Stirland Ford, Styles Silver, The Tutti Pole, The Hungerford Bookcase Company, Libby Blakey, Mr Fry, Hungerford Kebab Van, Eliane, Kitchenmonger, Mark Llewellyn Photography, Royal British Legion, Roger King Antiques, The Hungerford Arms, Mac Hair, Martin and The Magpie, All Stall holders, The Hungerford Adviser and Newbury Weekly News