Christmas cracker set to be biggest one ever

The Victorian Festival of Christmas event kicks off today
The Victorian Festival of Christmas event kicks off today
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ORGANISERS of this year’s Victorian Festival of Christmas in Portsmouth say it will be the biggest and best yet.

The festival, which launched today at the Historic Dockyard, is expected to attract more than 35,000 people over the weekend.

As well as having more than 170 stalls, the festive fun includes 400 performers – the most ever at the festival.

Jacquie Shaw, a spokeswoman at the Historic Dockyard, said excitement had been building over the past 12 months for the magical event.

‘This is easily the biggest and best we have staged,’ she said. ‘Each year we try to grow it. We started planning 12 months ago as soon as we finished the last one.

‘It’s been a lot of hard work but we’re all looking forward to it.’

The three-day Christmas bonanza is celebrating its 16th year in the city.

This year’s action received an unexpected boost from Radio 2 DJ and Top Gear presenter, Chris Evans.

The broadcaster spoke briefly about the festival on his radio programme.

Jacquie said: ‘It was great for Chris Evans to mention us.’

This is easily the biggest and best we have ever staged.

She added: ‘The Victorian Festival of Christmas is a really well-established event now.

‘We market it across the south of England.

‘I think the reason we get so many people coming to visit us is because of the unique surroundings.

‘The environment and the atmosphere in the dockyard is amazing.

‘The backdrop of the historic buildings and the ships is something you can’t get anywhere else.’

With the influx of visitors to the event, organisers are urging as many people to make use of the city’s park-and-ride schemes and public transport.

Security has also been tightened this year. All bags coming into the site will be searched, Jacquie added.

Those wishing to buy tickets for the event can do so at the door or online at historicdockyard.co.uk