Traders dusted off their bonnets for the Christmas Dickensian evening in Wantage to mark the start of the festive shopping season.

The Dickensian Evening is a community event that sees local traders dress up in Victorian style clothes and Christmas stalls take over Wantage Market Place.

The event started more than 30 years ago when shops in Wantage wanted to hold late night evenings to encourage customers to do their Christmas shopping.

Shops would host a Christmas evening and offer mince pies and drinks and since then it has become more of a community evening.

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This year the event on Friday December 3, was complete with a snow machine, reindeer and carol singing.

Deborah Lewis-Pryde has helped organise the event for many years.

She said the community event is a great way of supporting local shops, traders, charity stall and food vans from the area.

Herald Series: The Wantage Dickensian Evening 2021
Pictured is Erik Johnson.
Picture by Ed Nix

In 2020 the event was cancelled due to Covid and this year everyone was happy to be back.

Mrs Lewis-Pryde said: "We had a lot of people on Friday, we were really well supported."

She added: "A lot of people feel it is the beginning of the Christmas shopping period it is a really good boost for the town."

Members of the public and people from the Town Council dressed up for the event in top hats and bonnets.

Mrs Lewis-Pryde said: "It all just started with the shops dressing up and that's where the Dickensian theme came from and we have been trying to keep it going. Some stalls do really like to make an effort and dress up.

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