With just a week to go before Ffestiniog’s first winter festival some of you are still wondering why a load of wooden huts have suddenly sprung up in the park…
We are in the process of turning the park into a winter wonderland! The huts will make up a little Alpine Christmas market, with amazingly talented local craftspeople selling everything from handmade Christmas decorations and jewelery to goat’s milk soap.
The festival has been in the pipeline for the last few years, and is planned and funded by the Ffestiniog Town Council, whose aim is to give local businesses a platform to promote their products and showcase everything that Blaenau and the surrounding area have to offer. And that’s a whole lot more than just slate!
Many local businesses have jumped at the chance to get involved but most of the stalls have been booked by independent craftspeople and hobbyists. This is a great opportunity to keep your Christmas shopping ethical, buying from local producers and putting money back into your local economy. Some local charities have also taken stalls for fundraising, and you can also help out causes a bit further afield by visiting the Shop Bethlehem stall and buying handmade crafts from Palestine.
There will be delicious hot food available at the festival, and not just from Caffi Kiki! Local butcher’s van Blas yr Allt will be serving up hot turkey and festive sausages, while Piggin Delicious carves up a nice hog roast! We also have more exotic options with Coconut Kitchen dishing up fresh Thai curries, Camp Halloumi bringing the best Cypriot products and local baker Mr.Racheed’s famous Kurdish breads and pastries! Local roastery Poblado will be setting up (coffee) shop for the weekend, and there will be delicious homemade cakes from Blaenau’s newest cafe Y Gorlan.
While parents do their Christmas shopping the little ones (and larger ones) can whizz around the ice rink which is also equipped with a snow machine and a bubble blower! Sip festive cocktails from the adorable Baabaa Bar whilst checking out the local talent on the stage, and hold out for some big Welsh headline acts over the weekend!
On Monday night the stage will open with Faerial Performances fire show and local band Yr Oria. Tuesday night the stage will be transformed into Blaenau’s Got Talent, with the final round being hosted on Wednesday night with Dilwyn Morgan. Thursday night is traditionally “Goleuo Stiniog” when the lights in Blaenau are switched on and shops stay open for late-night shopping, but as Blaenau Bendigedig did not go ahead with the traditional parade and concert in Diffwys this year, the local choirs and brass band will be putting on concerts in the park. The night will end with all of the choirs leading community carol singing! Can you imagine anything more festive?!
(I still can’t believe these guys are gonna be there!)
On Friday night Welsh legend Dafydd Iwan will be drawing in the crowds, with support from the winner of Blaenau’s Got Talent and will be followed by local boys Horizon who will appeal more to the younger crowd with an exciting laser show. Saturday will warm up with an open mic session in the afternoon followed by Gypsy Jazz duo Rainbow and the 4Ts before Gai Toms a’r Band take to the stage to headline. Sunday will see a showcase of talent from Ysgol Y Moelwyn’s music department, followed by local band Yr Oria and then bilingual cover band JD and Co before the festival closes with another community carol singing session!
I know what you’re thinking… It’s a pretty ambitious program for the first event in the park – but I’m a strong advocate of “go hard or go home” – and why have a party for a day when you could have it for the week? People can visit the festival as many times as they want, with free entry meaning they can come and enjoy something different every night!
And here’s to the first of many!