PICTURES: Thousands get into Christmas spirit at Lavenham winter festival

LAVENHAM: Lavenham Christmas Fair'Evie Lambert and Jess Casey santa's little helpers'Picture Mark Westley
LAVENHAM: Lavenham Christmas Fair'Evie Lambert and Jess Casey santa's little helpers'Picture Mark Westley
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Thousands of visitors poured into Lavenham to get into the Christmas spirit at the village’s record-breaking three-day winter festival.

Starting off last Friday night, the annual event began with a festive fair in the Market Place from 5.30pm to 8.30pm.

LAVENHAM: Lavenham Christmas Fair''Picture Mark Westley

LAVENHAM: Lavenham Christmas Fair''Picture Mark Westley

It featured a range of food, craft and gift stalls, and included a fairground big wheel offering riders a bird’s eye view across the medieval roof tops.

Father Christmas put in an appearance to turn on the Christmas tree lights.

Over the weekend, shops stayed open for longer, while stalls selling gifts, crafts and clothes were set up inside the historic Lavenham Guildhall, and there was an opportunity to get a close encounter with birds of prey at the Lavenham Falconry displays on Saturday and Sunday.

With actors dressed up in Dickensian costumes, the aim of the festival was to get villagers and tourists into the Christmas spirit, said Lesley Thompson, a member of the event’s organising committee.

LAVENHAM: Lavenham Christmas Fair'Harvey 3 and Jody Dunne 6  have fun on a ride'Picture Mark Westley

LAVENHAM: Lavenham Christmas Fair'Harvey 3 and Jody Dunne 6 have fun on a ride'Picture Mark Westley

“It really was a brilliant event and broke all records, by all accounts,” she said. “We had lots of families with young children this year. Everyone remarks on the great atmosphere, it’s so beautiful and Lavenham really suits it.”

Musical acts helping to spread the Christmas spirit included The Long Melford Silver Street Band, The Lavenham Contemporary Choir and The D’Ukes Ukelele Band.

A lantern walk took place on Saturday afternoon, finishing with mulled wine and mince pies at The Swan Hotel.

LAVENHAM: Lavenham Christmas Fair''Picture Mark Westley

LAVENHAM: Lavenham Christmas Fair''Picture Mark Westley

LAVENHAM: Lavenham Christmas Fair'Janine Deacon with Luka 7 and James 4 on the Big Wheel 'Picture Mark Westley

LAVENHAM: Lavenham Christmas Fair'Janine Deacon with Luka 7 and James 4 on the Big Wheel 'Picture Mark Westley

LAVENHAM: Lavenham Christmas Fair''Picture Mark Westley

LAVENHAM: Lavenham Christmas Fair''Picture Mark Westley