TV team help Conwy Christmas festival become a winter wonderland

A town’s big seasonal celebration was transformed into a glistening winter wonderland – just like top TV soap Emmerdale.

Organisers who wanted an early snowfall to give just the right frosty feel to the annual Christmas Festival in Betws y Coed were given a financial boost by housing association Cartrefi Conwy.

But rather than rely on the uncertainties of the climate, they arranged for a gallons of the  deep and crisp and even to be pumped from a giant snow-making machine into the grounds of St Mary’s Church on which the festival was centred.

Pathways, walls, trees and shrubbery were given an authentic looking coating of the white stuff  thanks to the generosity of housing association Cartrefi Conwy which contributed a third of the £10,000 cost of the exercise.

It’s hoped the snow-making machine will help create 12 part time jobs in the area.

Michelle Richards, the Upper Rural Conwy Development Officer who helped organise the festival and worked closely with Cartrefi Conwy on the big freeze project, said: “To make Nadolig Betws really special we wanted to give the churchyard a nice covering of snow.

“Because we couldn’t rely on the weather to provide us with that on the day it was decided to buy a snow machine to do the job.

“It cost £10,000 and Cartrefi Conwy kindly provided £3,500 towards it.

“Of course, the new machine will have much more use than just providing snow for the festival. It’s our aim to turn it into a business, supplying ready-made snow for events the whole year round such as snow-themed weddings and events with a winter theme.

“We’ll also be training up about a dozen people to operate the machine and the idea is for them to work part-time on a rota basis at the outside events for which it is booked.”

She added: “We’d like to thank Cartrefi Conwy and everyone else involved in making the snow machine project and the whole of this year’s festival, which again attracted thousands of people, such a great success.”

One of the local people who used the machine to provide the snowfall at St Mary’s in time for the Christmas Festival was Phil Blain.

He said: “It was great fun to use it for the first time to create the snow scene for Nadolig Betws.

“I received two days of special training in health and safety and the theory of the machine before we started the using it the day before the festival.

“Actually, the people who trained us were two guys from the company, Snow Business, which supplied the machine, and they had just finished creating a wintry scene for a sequence in the ITV soap Emmerdale.

“It was the one where sweet factory boss Jai gets stuck on a frozen lake, which was surrounded by snow. The team from the company told us all about how they did it, which was fascinating.

“The machine stands just under six feet tall and the ‘snow’ is loaded into it through a big hopper on the front.

“The white stuff is actually tiny pieces of recycled paper which are mixed with water inside the machine and then pumped out using compressed air.

“You just point the nozzle where you want the snow and is comes out really fast. It also looks very authentic and is quite easy to remove afterwards.”

Also anxious to thank Cartrefi Conwy for providing cash support towards buying the snow machine was local Conwy county councillor Liz Roberts.

She said: “This is the third year we’ve held Nadolig Betws and it just gets bigger every time.

“These days sustainability of projects is very important, so we are hoping to turn the machine into a year-round business supplying a snow setting for all kinds of events.

“Hopefully, this will mean the creation of about 12 part-time jobs to run the machine, which will be very good for the local economy.

“I’d like to thank Cartrefi Conwy for the financial help it has provided to the project and everyone else, both organisations and individuals, who have helped put this year’s festival together.”

Cllr Roberts explained that, apart from the snow, another highlight of the festival had been the lantern parade which traditionally began just as darkness fell on the town, which she said was once again packed with visitors from across North Wales, the Midlands and even Canada, from where a group had travelled especially for the occasion.

“A few years ago we asked local people what they wanted included in the festival and they said a lantern parade through the town, which is what we arranged,” she added.

“This year we’ve had all sorts of wonderful designs including castles and other large figures and about 50 people marched in the parade carrying them.

“There was also a marvellous Santa’s grotto in the grounds of the church, which had lots of  trees inside also covered in snow by the machine.

“Out on Cae Llan, which is the town big recreation field, we had stalls and sideshows along with a display of archery.

“I think that everyone who came along to the festival enjoyed the whole day very much.”

Cartrefi Conwy Chief Executive Andrew Bowden said: “We were pleased to provide funding to buy this wonderful machine.

“Our mission statement is to create communities to be proud of and events like the Christmas celebrations in Betws y Coed bring people together in a good way.

“In the longer term, the snow-making machine will help provide employment and a source of income for the community. Christmas really has come early in Betws y Coed.”

Related Posts with Thumbnails