Father Christmas alive and well

CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR: A festive wonderland will be on show in the Norfolk landscape.

NOT far from the North Norfolk coast and midway between Fakenham and the small market town of Holt, there is an almost insignificant turning off the A148. If you look carefully you might spot a sign that points the way to the village of Thursford.
More prominent though at this time of the year, are the signs directing the way to The Thursford Collection – a steam museum – the largest and one of the most important of its kind in the world.
Forget all that North Pole nonsense, because behind the scenes and away from the working carousels, traction engines, the Mighty Wurlitzer organ and bustling restaurants, Father Christmas is busy here, laying his plans for the festive season, months ahead.
It would be useless to look for red and white robes or the trade mark flowing white beard, because right now – clean shaven and casually dressed – he blends into the crowds of tourists thronging the exhibition and grounds.
That is, if he is still in the area because there is a very good chance the man himself is over 100 miles away in London busily recruiting the scores of performers he will need later in his Christmas production, that transforms the bleak Norfolk winter landscape into a festive wonderland.
This very real Father Christmas is in fact John Cushing, managing director of Thursford and the producer and director of what is the biggest and most breathtaking Yuletide show in the country and perhaps the Universe, and auditions are held in the capital during June.
Commencing on November 11th and running until December 23rd, with two performances daily seven days a week, a staggering 130,000 people regularly attend this brilliant extravaganza – The Thursford Christmas Spectacular. It is a heart warming explosion of festive cheer, produced by people determined to keep Christmas alive.

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