CHRISTMAS came early at Keele University this weekend with preparations getting for the 5,000 guests that will descend on the campus for parties and events over the festive season.
While the rest of the county is enjoying the last bank holiday of the summer staff at the 19th Century Keele Hall were set to take delivery of 403ft of Christmas garlands, 24 Christmas trees, 108 Christmas wreaths, 2,000 baubles and around 5,000 Christmas crackers.
Sam Booth, head of Keele University conferences and events, said with thousands expected at the venue for Christmas parties, private events, on day visits and for the annual Christmas market, thoughts had turned away from the summer sun to log fires and turkey dinners.
“There’s rarely a month of the year that goes by without us thinking about the festive season, but these last two weeks of August are the ideal time for us to get our Christmas decorations sorted and clean down the Christmas china before autumn gets underway.”
Meanwhile, the seven strong kitchen team will be stocking the pantry ready to serve to serve around 3,500 traditional turkey dinners, 1,200 canon of beef, 5,000 mince pies, 2,000 Christmas puddings with 2,000 litres of brandy sauce.
Executive chef Peter Walters said he had to start preparing the four different Christmas menus in February while the festive season was fresh on his mind and he could reflect on what worked well and what needed changing.
“Of course, the traditional turkey dinner remains the firm favourite for most our guests, but we’re always looking to ways to add a twist to make our dinner a bit different and extra special” he said. “We meet with suppliers to talk about the season all year round and after 13 years working at Keele, I have got my Christmas palette down to a tee.”