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Winterfest launches in Wembley Park with a festival of light to last the festive season

PUBLISHED: 16:49 21 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:24 21 November 2019

Winterfest at Wembley Park. Picture: Chris Winter

Winterfest at Wembley Park. Picture: Chris Winter

www.chriswinter.co.uk chris@chriswinter.co.uk 07970108312

Christmas has officially started in Wembley Park with the launch of its first ever Winterfest festival.

Hopeful Tree at Winterfest in Wembley Park. Picture: 

Chris WinterHopeful Tree at Winterfest in Wembley Park. Picture: Chris Winter

Crowds gathered on Wednesday evening for the switching on of a free winter light festival.

A 25 meter walk through "Hopeful Tree' with a specially commissioned 100,000 LED light display was switched on with a brass band standing inside playing Jazz numbers and festive favourites.

Visitors experienced the "sonic runway", a multi-sensory installation running along Olympic Way.

Music rippled down the 100-metre corridor of 32 concentric rings which triggering kaleidoscopic patterns of light.

Chloe Mcgill, founder of Patoka, Brent's first zero-waste shop in Wembley Park Market. Picture: Nathalie RaffrayChloe Mcgill, founder of Patoka, Brent's first zero-waste shop in Wembley Park Market. Picture: Nathalie Raffray

A bespoke music soundtrack was curated with Boxpark Wembley specifically for the launch event.

A digital 'flock of birds', part of a Murmuration of Hopes installation, hung between trees and an interactive 'Illumaphonium: Halo' sculpture of music and light in Market Square had children touching it to hear if different sounds came out - hard to tell, so many hands.

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Also launching on the night was new bakery emporium Bread Ahead which is a wholesale retailer, a restaurant and a school, all wrapped in one.

Vanessa Bhojani, co-founder of Sqiins in Wembley Park Market. Picture: Nathalie RaffrayVanessa Bhojani, co-founder of Sqiins in Wembley Park Market. Picture: Nathalie Raffray

Founder Matthew Jones, who left school at 15, set up his first stall in Borough Market six years ago and has stores in Soho and Chelsea.

"We're about food experiences, delicious moment by moments in your life when you go 'wow, that was really good'," he said. "The dream has become a reality, it's amazing."

Traders in the Wembley Market were also ready for shoppers after organic food, ethical fashion and bespoke gifts.

Sqiin co-founder Vanessa Bhojani lives in Kingsbury and stitches her eye-catching bags by hand in her Neasden studio for sale in the market. "I was shocked when this opened, I wasn't expecting it, there's nothing like this in Brent," she said.

Chloe McGill, from Kensal Green, is the first zero-waste trader in the borough with her sustainable eco-store Patoka. Selling such items as reusable toiletries she said: "I've been surprised by how enthusiastic people are about the idea of zero-waste," she said.

Josh McNorton, cultural director for Quintain, the regeneration giant who funded the event, said: "We are really excited for Winterfest, a unique celebration that represents everything that Wembley Park is about; bold, dynamic and fun - everything you could wish for in one place."

Brent Council leader Cllr Muhammed Butt said: "The free winter playground will provide festive cheer to families from across Brent as we look ahead to our London Borough of Culture activities throughout 2020.

"Brent is the place to be this Christmas and we look forward to welcoming everyone to join in the celebrations."

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