Windsor Road and Glebe St in Penarth Town Centre are closed off today for this this afternoon Christmas Lights Switch-On organised by Penarth Town Council.
A number of fairground rides and stalls have been set up for the event and a large stage has been erected outside the St Fagans pub for a live local talent show.
Father Christmas and Mrs Christmas are due to arrive in a lantern parade that everyone can join in on which leaves West House at Stanwell Road at just after 16:00 hours
But for some there’s already no doubt about who – or what – is the star of this year’s Christmas Festival. It’s an ancient – probably early 1900s – street organ which is playing outside Boots the Chemists.
The organ has been in the hands of a six generations of the Smith fairground family of Talbot Green. It was fully restored in 1990 and is still going strong.
Present owner Tom Smith – who is selling hot chestnuts alongside the organ – says it was his “grandfather’s iPod” and was originally part of a Victorian carousel owned by his grandfather. It had – in turn – been handed down to him by Tom’s great great grandfather.
The music software is not only pre-digital but pre-analog – and is sourced from books of concertina-folded punched card – similar to those of a pianola – but into book form.
The technology dates from the punched card system originated by Joseph Marie Jacquard who invented in automated Jacquard loom in 1801.
The titles are all carefully stored on shelves. When one piece ends it’s just a matter of threading in another “book” and off the organ goes – providing an authentic and traditional fairground sound along with cymbals and drums.
Press the arrow symbol to hear the organ play.
The timetable for this afternoon is :
15:30 Live musical outdoor stage-show featuring local talent.
16:00 ‘Santa Claus’ and partner will let off from West House with Penarth’s first-ever traditional “Lantern Parade” …(bring your own lantern to join in).
17:00 The Christmas Lights Switch on will be at 17:00 hours this evening