Wednesday 15th August 2018

Visit Ongar

What’s Happening

Below is a calendar showing all of Ongar's wide range of events, meetings and talks, with something to suit all tastes and ages!
If your local event is not listed, please email [email protected]

TOWIE star Ricky Rayment to switch on Ongar’s Christmas lights

The Only Way Is Essex star Ricky Rayment will switch on the Ongar Christmas lights on Friday, December 7 2012.

Ricky, who has been in the hit show since February and is dating co-star Jess Wright, has agreed to be this year’s celebrity guest for the big High Street event.

Ricky Rayment will be coming to Ongar to switch on the town’s Christmas lights on 7th December!!

Ongar Town Forum sought the help of fellow TOWIE star Gemma Collins over the celebrity arrangements this year after Gemma and TOWIE colleagues Dino and Georgio Georgiades lit up the town last year.

Ricky will arrive in Ongar on a steam train courtesy of Epping Ongar Railway having made the journey from North Weald Station.

Epping Ongar Railway is running trains from North Weald Station at 5.05pm, 6pm and 7.55pm. Trains back to North Weald will depart Ongar Station at 5.30pm, 7.30pm and 8.20pm. Special discounted return fares from North Weald of £3 per person will be available on the evening. For more details about the train service, visit

Crowds can follow Santa’s parade as he makes his way – with the help of Ongar Round Table – from Ongar Station to Manor Square in the High Street at 6.30pm.

There will be stalls in St Martin’s Church Rooms, Castle Street, a Santa’s Grotto, performances by local school choirs and an earlier start to the festivities – 4.45pm – than in previous years, with the lights switched on at 7pm.

Many of the town’s shops will be opening late.

Ongar Twinning Association will be providing mulled wine and mince pies.

Christmas Lights preparations underway

Ongar Gets Bejazzled!!

Ongar High Street was properly “bejazzled” last night (2nd Dec), when Gemma Collins, Dino and Gergio from “The Only Way is Essex”  came to switch on the Ongar Town Forum’s Christmas Lights!

Gemma Collins arriving in style in the Ongar Round Table Sleigh! (Photo John Parkes)

Close behind were Dino & Georgio, travelling in style

We were delighted to welcome Fyfield, Moreton & High Ongar, Shelley and Hacton Primary Schools, who all sung beautifully and entertained the crowds with Christmas songs and even some recorders

There was Christmas story telling and hot chocolate in the Library, and in the Budworth Hall there was lots of stalls and a chance to meet Santa in his Grotto. Roy Strutt Photography was on hand to capture the festive moment, and if you wish to order  pictures, they are available here.

Moments before the Grand Switch On, our MC for the night, Dom Atkins from Chelmsford Radio, interviews our Guests. Gemma even sung some Christmas songs before our Guests very kindly mingled with the crowds, signing autographs and having pictures taken!

While our Guests mingled, St Martin’s Church Choir led us in some Christmas songs, with the words printed in the Programme. These programmes include an exclusive interview with Gemma, puzzles and they open out to be a 2012 wall planner, which has all of Ongar’s events already written on – copies are still available from many of the retailers, including the Cock Tavern.

Lots of the small independent shops in the High Street were busy with shoppers, and am sure that many unique and special Christmas gifts were purchased, along with lots of people sampling the great food and drink available from the many retailers. More pictures of the event are available from our Facebook page.

Ongar Town Forum would like to thank all the shops, restaurants, businesses and local people who kindly donated towards the lights. It is only with these donations that we can continue to host this special and very festive event in the Ongar Calendar. In particular we would also like to thank all of those who helped out on the night, only with their help did the event run smoothly and really bring some festive cheer to young and old.

We are in urgent need of more volunteers to help us host this event, if you are able to spare a few hours to help, there is no minimum commitment and wide range of volunteering opportunities, please email us.



More Stars, More Christmas Cheer and More Activities at this year’s Ongar Christmas Lights Grand Switch On

The ever popular Ongar Town Forum Christmas Lights Grand Switch On this Friday 2nd December promises to be bigger and better than ever. We are delighted that Chelmsford Radio’s Dom Atkins will be on the stage, introducing the children’s choirs and guests, and getting the crowd into the Christmas spirit. Dom presents the Breakfast show every weekday morning on Chelmsford Radio and tells us he once helped to build a Christmas Grotto in Harrods!! We hope will be telling us more about his Christmas “goodie” or “baddies” on Friday!

Chelmsford Radio's Dom Atkins will be on stage on the night, getting the crowd into the festive spirit!

We are also delighted to be welcoming Dizzy Duck, who will be quacking hello to visitors in the Budworth Hall. Dizzy and his helpers will be offering children (and those young at heart!) face painting, a lucky dip, loads of items to give away and also the chance to get some reindeer food. This reindeer food is very important so Santa’s special helpers are kept nourished and are able to keep going throughout Christmas Eve as they help Santa deliver all the presents. Make sure you pick up your free bag of food for Rudolf, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen!

There are lots of stalls, and festive entertainment and cheer for all ages from 17:00 and with the high street shops open late, it is also a good chance to get something a little different or unique for your Christmas present lists! 

TOWIE Gemma Collins to Switch on Christmas Lights

Ongar Town Forum are delighted to announce that the arrangements are coming together for the Grand Christmas lights switch-on.

In common with previous years, the switch on is held on the First Friday of December (this year Fri 2nd Dec) and it promises to be bigger and better than ever!  There will be Santa’s Grotto and stalls in the Budworth Hall, including this year there is the chance to have your photograph professionally taken with Santa! Christmas stories and refreshments in the Library with many of the local shops getting in the festive cheer being open until late and decorating their windows.

This year the theme is “The Goodies and Baddies of Christmas”, and all children (and adults) dressing up will be getting sweets.

The parade will take our guests, including Gemma Collins, from “The Only Way is Essex”, into the High Street, for the count-down and grand first switch-on of the festive lights. This will be followed by some seasonal songs and the local school choirs will be adding to the Christmas atmosphere.

Gemma Collins, from ITV's "The Only Way Is Essex" is kindly joining us to switch on the Christmas Lights!!

Further exciting details are being put together, and follow us on Twitter or Facebook for the very latest updates!