IT was the most magical day of the year for children in Tenbury.

After a day of activities as part of the Mistletoe Festival the excitement started to rise as the light faded.

Roads in the town centre were closed as the crowds gathered in Teme Street.

There had been a chance for people to demonstrate their affection for each other when couples gathered in a bid to break the world record for the number ‘puckering up’ together in one place.

After the kissing was over, the Santa parade set off for St Mary’s Church, where children were able to collect a gift from Father Christmas.

The Mistletoe Festival started at 10am with markets selling seasonal gifts in the Pump Rooms and at the Round Market.

In the Library there was a chance for children to make their own Christmas decorations with the help of craft expert Zoe Disley.

Children’s author Helen Wendy Cooper was also at the library for book and poetry reading as well as signing copies of her work for fans.

Then at mid-day the 2019 Mistletoe Queen and Holly Prince, students from the Tenbury High School Ormiston Academy, were crowned and the Leominster Morris dancers did their jigs.

There was more story telling from award winning author Amy Douglas.

In the early afternoon the attention moved to Tesco where there was a performance by the Men in Harmony Male Voice Choir who were followed by more entertainment from the Morris Dancers.

Later in the afternoon a Tenbury based dance group also showed off their talent at Tesco.

Druids have played a part in Mistletoe Celebrations in Tenbury for many years and so it was in 2018.

At just before 2pm the Druids set off in procession from S.E.N.S.E in Teme Street to make their way to the Burgage for an ancient ceremony.

The association with Mistletoe, the Druids and what was the ancient midwinter festival go back longer than anyone can remember.

It is believed that the midwinter festival around the time of the Solstice was a plea from ancient people to the sun God to return.

Mistletoe that is a parasite that grows trees has in the past played a major part in the tradition and economy of Tenbury and the Teme Valley.

The Mistletoe sales that are being held this year bring buyers from all over the country and Europe.

Two of the sales have taken place and the final one will be at Burford House Garden Store next Tuesday.

Mistletoe has been long associated with fertility and the folklore is that any man has the right to demand a kiss of any woman of his choice if they are under the ‘kissing tree.’

The Santa Parade and Mistletoe Festival play an important part in bringing people into town during the Christmas shopping period that is vital for many traders.