First held in 2003, Brightlingsea Christmas Tree Festival has been a huge success growing from just fifty-seven trees in the first year to nearly a hundred trees today. Individuals, families, charities, churches, schools, shops, businesses, clubs and societies – all with links to Brightlingsea – traditionally bring trees to decorate in the church, some on a Christmas theme, some funny and some to reflect a business or organisation.
But thanks to Covid-19 2020’s Festival will be a little bit different! We’re going online and outdoors to help bring Covid-19 safe festive cheer to our community with two fantastic new ways to participate:
The first is to take part in our Virtual Christmas Tree Festival. Everyone is invited to design and make a tree in the normal way, but then to photograph it and submit their entry online instead of bringing it to the church. Online entry is free and is now open and entries must be submitted by 10 December. The Virtual Festival will be launched on Saturday 12 December when the public will be able to view all the trees in our online Festival Gallery and then vote for their favourites.
The second is to join the Brightlingsea Christmas Lights Trail! We want as many of you as possible to decorate your front gardens, driveways, houses or windows and help us Light Up Brightlingsea from All Saints’ to the Hard. Again its free to register your address for the Trail, online entry is now open and entries will close on 11 December. The Trail Map will go live from 1 December.
As well as providing one of the town’s best loved festive events, Brightlingsea Christmas Tree Festival raises much needed funds to support the upkeep of the historic All Saints Church and St James’ Church. As of the 2019 festival some £140,000 has been raised by the event. This year if you enjoy the Virtual displays and Lights Trail do please make a donation online. The funds raised will be used to support the restoration of All Saints’ historic landmark church tower and for the development of new toilet at kitchen facilities at the church to enable it to be used for an even greater range of community events.
We very much hope that the Festival will be able to return to its traditional format in 2021, when the Festival dates will be 11 and 12 December. You can read more about the traditional event format here.