Last year we took the extremely difficult decision to cancel our 2020 event due to the ongoing safety concerns for participants, spectators and volunteers arising from the global Coronavirus pandemic, and earlier this year we made the decision to cancel the Torch Light Parade for 2021 with the hope that the Fireworks Display may proceed.
Our aim is always to provide a safe event for everybody, however the continuation of the spread of Covid 19 and variants of the virus, together with the uncertainty of how this virus will progress over the coming months, presents us as organisers of a large public event a great deal of concern. For us, the health and safety of everybody attending any part of the Extravaganza is paramount and the added element of risk by contagion is very real. The government’s winter plan is also mindful of this risk and although they are encouraging people to meet outdoors their recommendation is that face coverings should be worn.
To enable us to manage 1,000’s of people who are contained in a viewing area under cover of darkness and to ensure that everybody wears a face covering is not realistic.
Whilst this is an outdoors occasion, and the risk is seen by many as very low, we as an organisation are required to produce an extensive event plan for approval by the governing authorities. This plan must demonstrate not only how the event is run but also to account for all forms of risk, now inclusive of Covid 19, and how these are managed. A huge effort is required to produce this document which involves close liaison and discussion with all statutory authorities. This includes, but is not limited to, Sevenoaks District Council, Kent County Council, Kent Police, Surrey Police, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, the NHS and the Civil Aviation Authority.
The committee are sensitive to the added risks presented by Covid 19 and we have therefore decided not to proceed with the Fireworks Display this year.
Many local businesses have helped us put on this event in the past by either providing us with raw materials and services or with direct funding. All our sponsors are recognised on our website and Facebook and their support has enabled us to offer a safe, affordable, and very enjoyable Extravaganza. The tickets we sell on the night pay for the balance of the event.
The society and company are run and supported entirely by volunteers, and we plan to return with a special event for 2022.
We would like to thank everybody for your continued support and interest for Edenbridge Bonfire Society.
Kent’s most famous bonfire celebration – preserving an age old tradition
The annual Edenbridge Bonfire celebration is held on the nearest Saturday to 5th November (the date of the infamous Gunpowder Plot of 1605) and is by far the biggest event in the Edenbridge calendar. The Daily Express calls it, “the World Famous Bonfire Party!”
The party itself begins at 6.30pm when a torch lit procession tours through the town. As our tradition dictates, this is led by our bishop of the bonfire, his choirboys and the Society’s effigies (Guy Fawkes, General Wolfe and Anne Boleyn, with her head tucked underneath her arm!).
They will be joined by teams from visiting Sussex bonfire societies, along with many brightly lit carnival floats, costumed walking parties, and marching bands.
Everyone then makes their way to the local Recreation Ground where fairground rides, stalls, and our resident DJ keep everyone amused during Kent’s oldest and best traditional fireworks display. During the show, our two huge 10m tall effigies (Guy Fawkes and the somewhat more recent 20-year tradition of our ‘Celebrity Guy’) are demolished by a mixture of gunpowder and flames.
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Thank you from everyone at Edenbridge Bonfire Society