UTTOXETER residents were out in force for the best Christmas Cracker night organisers can remember as the wet weather stayed away for one of the biggest events in the town’s calendar.
Thousands of townsfolk flocked to Uttoxeter town centre for an evening of late night shopping, street entertainment and fairground rides as this year’s Cracker Night.
The Uttoxeter Lions Club, who organise the event with support of Uttoxeter Town Council, said it was the best one they could remember.
Lions president Steve Shields said: “It was a rare treat that it stayed dry and relatively warm, because in the past couple of years we have had terrible weather for Cracker.
“Two years ago we nearly had to call it off completely because of heavy snowfall and treacherous ice on the roads. And last year it poured it down as we were judging the shop windows.”
The winners of the fancy dress and shop window competitions, which were judged by town mayor Martin Blencowe, received commemorative plaques at the town hall, in High Street.
The best group fancy dress plaque went to the supporters of the Hermitage Residential Home for Ladies and the individual fancy dress winner was Nicola Beattie, of the Harvey Girls, which supports pregnant woman and young mothers.
The best shop window awards went to Kerry Hemmings, of Nanna B’s knitwear and haberdashery shop, and to florist Emilie Duclos.
Entertainment at this year’s Cracker Night included music from Uttoxeter Brass Band with other bands from across the area taking to the stage in Carter Street, Uttoxeter Morris Men, a fire-eater, juggler, puppet show, Charli the Clown and a street organ.
The fairground attractions in the Market Place included two white-knuckle rides, a giant slide, a ferris wheel and children’s rides including a giant slide and bouncy castle.
There was also face painting, balloon shaping, donkey rides, a miniature train, classic fire engines and emergency service vehicles as well as more than 30 stalls allowing residents to get some festive shopping done.
Father Christmas also made an appearance, much to the delight of Uttoxeter children, as his grotto was given a new home in Redfern’s Cottage: Museum of Uttoxeter Life, in Carter Street, which saw visitors enter through a Victorian Christmas scene.