Parish church brews up Christmas Tree Festival
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
MULLED wine made with a secret recipe and 52 immaculately decorated trees are just some of the attractions of an upcoming festival at St Mary’s Church, in Barnard Castle.
Started in 2004, the Christmas Tree Festival has become a festive season favourite as people come together to enjoy good music, refreshments and the church’s own special brew Ale Mary.
The five-day event, which takes place every other year, gets underway on Wednesday, December 4.
Once again, vicar Revd Alec Harding’s “legendary” mulled wine will be on sale for enthusiasts to savour.
He said: “The recipe was handed down to me when I was first ordained in 1989 and it has served me well over the years.”
He added that his life was “transformed” when he got a large jam pan which can take up to six bottles of wine, having previously had to use a host of pots and pans to brew up his secret recipe.
Admission to the festival is free, but donations are welcome to view the Christmas trees, which have been decorated by businesses, schools and community organisations.
Refreshments will be on sale while people listen to music provided by the church’s community band and choir, as well as schools choirs and other friends and musicians.
Opening time for the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday viewings is 4pm to 6pm and between 11am and 5pm on Saturday, December 7.
The church opens again between 2pm and 4pm on Sunday, followed by Christmas readings poems and music.