Winter Fair comes to Ardingly

Pictures: Southern News & Pictures (SNAP)

Pictures: Southern News & Pictures (SNAP)

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Offering festive fun for all the family, the South of England Event Centre will open its doors to the magical Winter Fair.

More than 8,000 visitors are expected to attend the South of England Showground in Ardingly on Saturday, December 3, and Sunday, December 4.

Pictures: Southern News & Pictures (SNAP)

Pictures: Southern News & Pictures (SNAP)

Visitors will be welcomed by Christmas choirs and a magical Snow Queen on stilts accompanied by her elf helper, before entering two large shopping courts where more than 120 stall holders will be ready to help shoppers find inspirational and original Christmas gifts.

The Winter Fair offers something for all ages to enjoy with some great local produce, live music, a fabulous Santa’s Grotto, real reindeer, Harveys’ heavy horses, fantastic street entertainment, dodgem cars, a vintage carousel and a sumptuous food court with plenty of seating.

Visitors can even have a go at forging small items with the help of a professional forgemaster from the South of England Blacksmiths providing one-to-one tuition.

“Almost everything will be under cover, ensuring visitors keep warm and dry and with free entrance for under 16s, who are accompanied by a paying adult, it offers great value for money for a wonderful day out where the children can be entertained and adults can enjoy a delightful festive time,” says Iain Nicol, chief executive of the South of England Agricultural Society and director of the event centre.

“This event really is a one-stop shop to pick up local Christmas culinary delights and to tick off even the most unusual requests on the Christmas shopping list.”

As well as new entertainment with classic dodgem car rides, a vintage carousel and the ‘have a go’ at blacksmithing this year, visitors will also be able to meet real reindeer, which are brought in especially for the show by Animal Dramatics from Berkshire via Norway complete with sleigh, elf and Miss Claus – people can even feed the reindeer with their favourite lichen. Younger members of the family can also start their count down to Christmas with an early visit to Santa in his magical grotto.

Weary shoppers can sit back and relax in the large covered Food Court where there will be an abundance of artisan and delicious street food. Music will play throughout the day from the fantastic Harry’s Tricks with their blend of 20s, 30s and 40s music followed by exciting acoustic singer/songwriter Fred Clark, who will perform some great Christmas classics alongside his own compositions with carol singing from the Burgess Hill based Ariel choir on Saturday and Ardingly College choir on Sunday.

The atmosphere will be warm and welcoming for all ages and with ample free parking, visitors are not pressured to rush and instead can relax and enjoy the start of the festive season. Catering for the most splendid of seasonal spreads, shoppers will be able to select from an abundance of food and drink as well as seasonal gifts, homewares, kitchenware, fashion and beauty products and even unusual stocking fillers for pets.

Doors open at 9am and close at 5pm on Saturday and 4pm on Sunday.

Admission: Society Members enter for FREE and have priority parking through Princes Gate. Children under 16 years are free (when accompanied by a paying adult). Adults £5. Senior citizens and students £4. FREE parking. Save 10 per cent when you book online before the show at www.seas.org.uk. No dogs allowed.