WATCH: See sneak preview of Thursford’s Enchanted Journey of Light show
- Credit: Archant
The animals came in two by two – but in a massive lorry in deepest Norfolk.
A rhino, giraffe and lion travelled all the way from China to the Thursford Collection, near Fakenham in the venue’s bid to give Norfolk folk a happy Christmas.
The animals – life-sized replicas, covered with silk and with lights inside – are part of the new Enchanted Journey of Light show which is replacing the annual Christmas Spectacular at Thursford because of Covid.
Bosses at Thursford took the difficult decision to cancel the annual Christmas show – which attracts more than 100,000 visitors from across the world. They also put on hold a £4m project to create a new children’s play area.
But they felt they had to do something and invested £300,000 in the new show which takes visitors on a magical 1km walk through a light extravaganza, inside and out, past various scenes including a jungle, an ice kingdom and reindeer.
George Cushing, projects and marketing manager, said: “We couldn’t cancel Christmas, it’s what Thursford is all about so we are keeping it alive in the best way we can.”
After some delays in transit, the animals arrived at Thursford, to be unpacked ready for the new show which opens next month. These add to previous unusual deliveries of eight reindeer, 30 giant flowers, 50 presents and 10 snowmen.
Mr Cushing, grandson of Thursford’s founder and son of chief executive John Cushing, said: “We didn’t want the animals to be like anything else you’ve seen, we chose weird and wonderful colours because we wanted to create something magical, to really inspire children’s imagination and give them a show to remember.”
The harsh reality is that Thursford may not even be able to put on the Christmas Spectacular next year because of the pandemic, he said. So if the new show is a success it will return 2021.
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Already 30,000 tickets have been sold. Visitors will walk, with each group socially distanced from each other, through a Christmas-themed path into the Thursford theatre.
The Enchanted Journey of Light runs from November 19 until January 3.