A joint funding collaboration between The Rye Fund at Sussex Community Foundation and four primary schools has provided the Rye Christmas Festival with the opportunity to create an exciting new project this year.
Working with Radiator Arts, an arts organisation based in Hastings, alongside Wittersham School, St Michaels in Playden, Peasmarsh School and St Thomas in Winchelsea, the project has produced over 60 incredible and distinctive illuminated lanterns.
Artists from Radiator Arts visited each school. Over the course of a day they taught the children how to make and decorate Christmas-themed shapes. Using only willow, tissue paper, masking tape, glue, and lights, the children created beautiful Christmas trees, stars, baubles and robins. Everyone, including the volunteers who kindly helped on the day, learnt new skills, and had great fun, wrestling with willow and getting very sticky.
The public can go and see the finished lanterns spread light and festive magic as the very proud children carry their marvellous creations in the Rye Christmas Procession on Saturday, December 9.
Playden School also held a polar bear mask-making workshop in school with the help of Jack Ash and committee member Jen Sinclair. The masks and their makers will also be coming to join in with the procession.
The procession this year leaves the station at 4.30pm, going through the High Street and ending at the bottom of the Mint. It is set to be most colourful, bright and diverse procession since the start of the festival in 2015.
Participants include Bag Piper and Town Crier, Father Christmas, Mother Christmas, elves, Winchelsea School, Peasmarsh School, Wittersham School, Playden School, donkeys from Pett, Rye Bay FC, Rye Dance School, Ryebellion Drummers, Santa Express, Rye Town Mayor, Kings Head Inn staff, La Corredonia High School visiting us all the way from Spain with their students and street performers.
Festival organisers would like to send their thanks and appreciation out to Radiator Arts and all of the schools who have participated. The schools had to raise money to match fund the project with Radiator Arts which they did by holding cake sales and various other fundraising events.
A festival spokesman said: “We hope you all enjoyed making the lanterns and can’t wait to see you proudly representing your schools with them on the day.”
Rye Christmas Festival will take place on Saturday, December 9 from 11am until late, with a theme of Toyland. There will be high street races, live entertainment, train rides around the town and so much more. For full details, visit www.christmasinrye.co.uk.