Christmas is finally here! We hope all your prep is all done and you’re ready to celebrate with loved ones.
The festive season and the end of the year prompts us all to reflect upon the last twelve months, and this year is no exception.
Reflecting on 2021 in Darwen
Despite being another challenging year, 2021 has also seen us host numerous fantastic events and activities in Darwen Town Centre, and really make use of the redeveloped market square. From countless free family activities, to the Christmas Lights Switch On, we’ve been treated to a year of vibrant entertainment and culture.
Here are some highlights…
Let’s Make Family Fun in Darwen Town Centre
From the Summer holidays right up until the present, Let’s Make free family fun has been taking place on either Darwen Market Square or inside the market hall on most Saturdays, and during school holidays. There has been a huge variety of activities for children, including Magical Story Jars sessions, fun with Mr Pomfret from Beggars Belief Collective’s Three Loud Knocks, face painting, theatre, art and dance workshops, Halloween activities, retro games and much more.
We also had visits from theatre groups, Rubbish Shakespeare Company and Eye of Newt. Again, performances were 100% free to attend. Sometimes we have been challenged by the Great British weather, which can be rather unpredictable, but every effort was made to ensure events could go ahead, even if it meant last minute venue changes! It’s been wonderful to see local families enjoying the activities and entertainment, making friends, learning new skills and having fun.
A big shoutout also needs to be given to Darwen School of Music and Lancashire Dance Academy, who have provided wonderful entertainment on the market square throughout the year. We certainly have plenty of talented youngsters in Darwen!
Darwen Live & C.P. Company’s Cinquanta
It was great to see Darwen Live back this year, and the rain definitely didn’t keep Darreners from enjoying free performances from a diverse selection of artists. Darwen Live also coincided with C.P. Company’s Cinquanta exhibition, which was part of the British Textile Biennial.
It was brilliant for such an exclusive and exciting event to take place right here in Darwen Town Centre, and we have to thank Darwen native and Adidas Spezial mastermind, Gary Aspden, for helping to give Darwen the attention it deserves.
Visitors were amazed by the transformation that Darwen Market’s basement car park underwent as the exhibition venue – it looked incredible.
Christmas 2021 in Darwen
The 2021 Christmas Lights Switch On was another successful town centre event. We were treated to a weekend full of music, theatre, dance, plus Crafty Vintage Christmas markets and more. The headline act, Boyz On Block, brought back nostalgic 90s and 2000s memories for many, and the energy in the crowd was brilliant.
Plenty of Christmas themed Let’s Make activities have been happening throughout December, and Darwen Market even had two drop-ins from a very cheeky elf! Several lovely pop-up stalls also “popped-up” at the market this month, and Darwen Rotary‘s Santa visited his market hall grotto on five occasions throughout November and December.
We also tried something completely new this year with the #shopdarwen children’s Reindeer Trail. It gave children a fun free activity to do while out and about with parents/guardians, and we also had feedback that it helped adults find new local independent shops, too! The Shop Darwen scheme is all about supporting and celebrating Darwen’s small businesses, businesses that add so much character to our town centre. If you own or manage an independent business in Darwen Town Centre and are interested in joining the scheme, you can read more info here.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
That brings us to our final message of 2021, which is to say that we hope you have a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Stay safe, watch out for others, and refresh yourself of the current Covid guidelines before seeing family and friends.