“Oh yes it is!: It’s panto time at St Paul’s Christmas tree festival

St Paul’s Christmas Tree Festival is back – oh yes it is! The annual event will open to the public on Wednesday 1 December and this year’s theme is the traditional British pantomime.

The ever-popular event traditionally kicks off the festive season in Bedford, with 60 Christmas trees, decorated by local schools, community groups, charities and businesses and this year’s panto theme is bound to raise a smile.

Last year, due to Covid restrictions, the event had to take place virtually, so the organisers are thrilled to be back and open to the public for their 20th annual festival.

Once again, the festival will raise vital funds for two local charities, St Paul’s church and Bedford Hospital Charity & Friends.

On Wednesday 1 December, Bedford’s Pipe Band will pipe visitors into St Paul’s where Helen Nellis, Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, will open this year’s Christmas Tree Festival at 10.30am.

The mystery Panto Dame will appear as if by magic to delight you, along with the first of 26 choirs and instrumentalists who will be entertaining visitors to the festival.

Vote for your two favourite trees for them to win the People’s Choice trophy in either the children’s or the adults’ category.

Visiting children can win a book in the festive competition to find the hidden panto characters among the trees.

Evening Festival Concert

Experience the sparkling trees at night during the atmospheric evening Festival Concert by Minerva Piano Trio playing Mozart, Vivaldi, Ravel and Stravinsky.

It takes place on Friday 3 December at 7.30pm and tickets are £17.50. Tickets are available by calling 01234 783181 or online at peoplesfundraising.com/concert-tickets.

The Festival is sponsored by Jayne Beard Associates in memory of Jayne, a former Chairman of the Hospital Charity.

Opening times

The festival is open from Wednesday 1 – Sunday 5 December at St Paul’s church, St Paul’s Sq, Bedford MK40 1SQ

Opening hours are Wednesday – Saturday 10am – 5pm, Sunday 12pm – 4pm.

Entry: £3.00. Under 16 free.

Choir performances

Throughout the festival, choirs from schools and local organisations provide festive entertainment that is sure to banish any Bah Humbug feelings. Find out when your favourites are performing:

Wednesday 1st December

10.30 – 11.00 Greenacre Independent School
11.00 – 11.30 Bedford Pipe Band and Panto Dame
11.30 – 12.00 Greenacre Independent School
14.00 – 14.30 Polam School
14.30 – 15.00 Ravensden Primary Academy

Thursday 2nd December

10.30 – 11.30 Wixams Academy
11.30 – 12.00 Bedford Girls School
12.00 – 12.30 Kempston Hammers Community Choir
13.30 – 14.00 Bedfordshire Home Education
14.30 – 15.00 Bedford Girls School
15.30 – 16.00 The Rock Choir

Friday 3rd December

12.00 – 12.30 St Joseph’s and St Gregory’s Primary
14.00 – 14.30 Carers in Bedfordshire Choir
14.30 – 15.00 Come and Sing Saturday 4th December
10.30 – 11.00 Greensand Community Choir
11.00 – 11.30 Ouse Valley Singers
11:30 – 12:00 Biddenham Handbell Ringers
12.00 – 13.00 Music4Memory –Tibbs Dementia Foundation
13.30 – 14.00 Fusion Youth Choir
14.00 – 14.30 Eagle Choir
14.30 – 15.00 Kempston Musical Society
15:00 – 16.00 Sharnbrook Community Choir
16:00 Christingle Service

Sunday 5th December

12.00 – 12.30 Bedford Modern Singers
13.00 – 13.30 Opus 18 Community Choir
14.00 – 14.00 The Phoenix Chorus
14.30 – 15.00 The Goldentones
15.00 – 15.30 Inis Eire

Further details 01234 340163 and at their website here or Facebook page here.

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