Residents, visitors, traders and organisers all agree – this years’ Carnival of the Baubles event was the biggest and best yet – with 4,000 more people attending than at the 2019 event, residents’ praise of the event and business takings up.

Cllr Nathan Iliffe, Ashford Borough Council’s portfolio holder for corporate property and regeneration, said: “After many months of planning by council officers, the Love Ashford team and many others we are delighted to report that Carnival of the Baubles was a great success, with footfall up on the previous event, businesses telling us takings were up and those who attended telling us they had a great time.

“Thank you to all of you who participated in the event, those who were there will agree that there was definitely a feel good factor in the Town Centre during the day. Footfall for this year’s event was significantly up compared to Carnival of the Baubles in 2019, with a recorded 16,700 visitors – over 4,000 higher than 2019!”

Thousands gather for the colourful event Photo: Ashford Borough Council

Residents have already given organisers some fantastic feedback on social media too, as you can see with some of the post-event engagement from Facebook.

This year’s event was part of a wider programme of festive activities in the town centre.

Made in Ashford ran their festive Makers’ Market in Park Mall, businesses engaged by providing unique offers or discounts on food, drink and retail, and after listening to feedback from the first event in 2019, an evening food market was organised in the lower high street by Kent Food Hubs.

Revelation Ashford entertained shoppers throughout the day with music on the bandstand and in Elwick Place. Emergency Exit Arts – who have been working with Loveashford to deliver town centre events since 2019 – also organised a family friendly disco on the bandstand following the procession, decorating the bandstand beautifully in-keeping with this year’s under the sea theme.

Watch the Carnival of Baubles

After a tough year for retail, we were really pleased that the event was a big hit with businesses, and drove footfall to them at a critical time of year. Local business Made in Ashford recorded their busiest and most profitable day ever, since opening six years ago at Park Mall and here is more feedback from businesses involved on the day:

“Big congrats to all involved today. Procession was amazing!”

“Congratulations and thank you to everyone involved in such an awesome event yesterday. The baubles looked stunning and everyone had a really brilliant time! So proud to be part of it.”

“Thank you everyone for yesterday. The parade was awesome – well done those involved! The food market went down really well and the traders were happy. Shame about the weather, I think people would have stuck around and really enjoyed themselves if the rain had held off. Thank you for letting us be a part of it.”

Loveashford website

By Ed

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