Those that know me know that I am a bit of a 'humbug' when it comes to all the build up and hype before Christmas, but also a bit of a softy when it comes to Christmas Spectaculars at Thursford, so when the chance to go came along, I jumped at it.
Each year June Peck valiantly endeavours to fill a coach for the day out. A cold but bright Saturday in December found us boarding a coach and setting off to Thursford in Norfolk via Norwich. The plan was to have lunch and spend a couple of hours in Norwich before setting off again for the evening performance of the spectacular.
The village of Thursford is 24.5 miles northwest of Norwich and 16.3 miles southwest of Cromer and is home to a museum which houses the world's largest collection of steam engines and mechanical organs, together with old-fashioned fairground rides such as the 1896 Gallopers, sets of ride-on horses which speed round to the sound of the organ music and the Venetian Gondola which is a switchback ride. It was founded by George T.H. Cushing who was born in 1904 and at the age of eight visited the local travelling fair that came to his village, he got the taste and smell of the fair rides and his obsession took root.
During November and December each year the venue is transformed into a winter wonderland where the musical show takes place. Arriving after dark is magical, the whole place is set alight with masses of fairy lights and Christmas figures, festive music plays and the little shops are packed with goodies and people. Coaches pull into the car park at an alarming rate from all over the United Kingdom; it's quite something to spot the destinations that they have come from. There is an afternoon and evening performance accommodating about 50 coaches per performance.
The cast is composed of 130 professional singers, dancers and musicians and a comedian. In the 3 hour show they perform all kinds of music and dancing, including the brief running of the Venetian Gondola ride. Each year the entertainment is slightly different but still truly magical.
After the show it was time to head home. Fortunately our coach was easy to find and we were quickly loaded and away, not arriving back in Ipswich until well after midnight but fortunately we did not encounter any traffic or adverse weather and we did not turn into pumpkins!
Many thanks to June for the organisation and booking of the tickets which have to be booked a year in advance, so next year if you would like to go there will be another chance. Just contact June!