Christmas lights switch-on events in Stratford, Shipston, Alcester, Henley, Bidford, Wellesbourne, Chipping Campden and Kineton
IT will soon start feeling a lot like Christmas as festive lights are switched on across Herald country.
The annual celebrations mark the start of the countdown to the big day as well as providing families with the opportunity for a bit of fun. Here, we provide a guide to many of the events happening over the next few weeks.
Regarded as a festive treat for all the family, the traditional switching on of the lights was cancelled last year because of Covid, but the magic will be back in 2021… subject to any last-minute government restrictions.
The town’s lights will be switched on by Stratford mayor, Cllr Kevin Taylor, in High Street on Thursday, 25th November, at approximately 4.30pm – the usual venue, the Town Hall, is currently undergoing some restoration work.
The switch-on event is soon followed by the annual Victorian Christmas Market, which will run from Thursday, 9th December, to Sunday, 12th December, in the town centre (Thursday: 11am to 8pm; Friday: 10am to 8pm, Saturday: 10am to 8pm and Sunday: 10am to 5pm).
The market is a themed event with stall holders dressed in Victorian costumes. There will also be entertainment throughout the town and a stage in Henley Street which will host a programme of performances. There will be a traditional funfair, which will include a carousel situated at the bottom of Wood Street and the Rother Street market area.
Stalls for the Victorian Christmas Market will be on Waterside, Bridge Street, Henley Street, High Street and Meer Street. Wood Street will host street food and drink-related produce.
Businesses in Shrieves Walk, Statford are having a Christmas Tree light switch-on event on Friday, 26th November, at 5.30pm. There will be mulled wine, hot chocolate, mince pies and the possibility of a few celebrities to switch on the lights.
The scene is set for the big switch on of Christmas lights in Alcester this Sunday (21st November).
Alcester Christmas Lights (formerly known as Alcester Bunting and Lighting Executive) has organised the switch-on, which will take place on the St Nicholas Church Green from 4pm and end with the lighting of the Tree of Light.
Alcester Victoria Silver Band will be playing carols at the event so the public can have a good sing-song of some Christmas classics and mince pies and mulled wine will be served in the town hall later.
Alcester High Street will not be closed to traffic – all of the town’s car parks will open to drivers.
In keeping with the Christmas comes early to Alcester theme, there will be cause for extra celebration when a Christmas Fair is staged at The Greig Hall on Saturday, 4th December, from 11am to 5pm.
The event will include craft stalls, Santa’s grotto, carol singing and entertainment and will be the first event staged at the hall after ten years of closure.
The annual Bidford Christmas lights switch-on event will be held on Sunday, 28th November, at 5pm, with many activities planned for the whole family. The event will include a spectacular firework display, grand draw with prizes, hot food and mulled wine, mince pies and cakes, Santa’s grotto, Bidford Area Community Choir, Bretforton Silver Band, Morris dancers, tombola, fire eater and special guest, Kim Hartman from ‘Allo ‘Allo!
There will also be a Christmas Tree Festival on Saturday, 11th December, and Sunday, 12th December, from noon to 6pm at St Laurence’s Church in Bidford. Entertainment includes the Bidford Area Community Choir, the Brownies Choir plus raffle and refreshments
The Christmas Market returns on Saturday, 4th December. There will be stalls in the town hall from 10am, as well as along the High Street from midday, selling a range of crafts, food and drink. Some of the stalls will be run by local charities and organisations, raising funds to support their work.
In the Town Square there will be a variety of hot food and drink vendors. And, of course, all the shops and eateries will also be open. Father Christmas is
expected to make an appearance and will be collecting donations for Save the Children.
The Rotary Christmas Tree of Light and town lights will be switched on at 5pm.
In Henley the lights will be switched on on Saturday, 27th November. Carol singing will be at 5pm, with the switch-on at 5.30pm.
There will be mulled wine and mince pies to raise funds for next year’s lights. It will also be a
merry trip to school for youngsters as the lights will be switched on for the school run.
Kineton is staging a Christmas Tree Trail, which starts on 1st December and gives residents and visitors the chance to follow a trail of festive fun throughout the village with some ingenious and original creations to enjoy. The trail is lit throughout the month.
The town will have an ice-skating rink this Christmas, thanks to the town’s Rotary Club.
The synthetic rink will be installed for the Rotary Victorian Evening on Friday, 3rd December, and will remain in place at the Shipston Enterprise Centre until 5th December.
Booking has already opened at www.trybooking.co.uk/17832 for the 40-minute slots, which includes time to get your skates on.
The Victorian evening returns after last year’s Covid-forced break with stalls, carol singing and entertainment, the Tree of Life and Father Christmas. It runs from 6pm to 8pm.
To book ice skating, visit www.trybooking.co.uk/17832.
The lights and street decorations in the centre of the village will brighten the night sky from Saturday, 27th November. This year, the event will be held entirely outside for safety reasons.
However, there will be the usual stalls and fairground attractions in the village hall car park, the shopping precinct and School Road, which will be closed to traffic for the occasion.
Wellesbourne Lions will be selling mulled wine and mince pies, and Maypole butchers will be running a barbecue. Other food options include Granny Smith’s ice-creams, Kolshi Indian snacks and Jon’s donuts and waffles. There will be plenty of craft and gift stalls and the opportunity to support charities. Some shops will stay open too and Santa will be there to meet the children.
Shipston Brass Band will be providing some festive music.
The lights, which are organised by Wellesbourne and Walton Parish Council, will include a new central decoration in the precinct plus a new design by a local child.
The stalls will open at 4.30pm and the switch-on will be at 6.30pm. It’s free to attend.