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Newbury Christmas lights switch-on this Sunday

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Where and when Father Christmas will be doing the honours

EXCITEMENT is mounting in the run-up to the big switch-on of Newbury’s Christmas tree lights – and the arrival of Father Christmas – in a grand parade and seasonal celebration on Sunday.

Festive street lights have been twinkling over the last couple of weeks, on The Broadway’s Clock Tower, along Northbrook Street and in Bartholomew Street, stretching up to the railway bridge.

This heralds Sunday’s main event, the big switch-on of the Christmas tree and Market Place lights – and the arrival of Father Christmas in an extended parade through the town centre.

Head to the Market Place for Christmas treats, including spicy mulled wine, warm cinnamon donuts and other goodies.

The fun starts with the chance for children to visit Santa in his grotto, from 11am to 3.45pm, followed by live music from 2pm with the Rock Choir, Crowd Control, The Mini Band and singer Emma Lawrence, from Woolton Hill.

Entertainment during the day will build up to the parade, from 4.30pm to 5pm, gathering at the West Berkshire Council car park in Market Street.

Two lucky winners of a reindeer hunt competition – organised in collaboration with the Newbury Weekly News – will then set off, riding alongside Santa in his sleigh.

Visitors can wave to Santa along an extra-long parade route this year, setting off along Bartholomew Street, continuing along Northbrook Street, London Road, Park Way and Wharf Street.

The parade will then enter Market Place for the climax – the 5pm switch-on of the lights on the huge Christmas tree next to the Town Hall, and also the Market Place festive lights.

The event, run by Newbury Business Improvement District (BID), has sponsorship from Newbury Building Society towards the festive street lights.

Newbury BID managing director Russell Downing said: “Newbury BID is committed to putting events on in Newbury to provide entertainment for the community and to attract visitors to the town and this year is no exception.”

Road closures will be in place in town centre pedestrian areas.

For anyone who misses Santa on Sunday, he will be at his grotto in Parkway from Saturday, December 3, to Tuesday, December 6, and again from Saturday, December 17, to Friday, December 23.

A festive atmosphere returns to the town centre from 5m to 8pm on Thursday, December 15, with late night shopping – and free parking in the Kennet Centre, Parkway and the Northbrook Street multi-storey car park – plus entertainment by the fantastic Light Walkers, and local choirs and festive singing in the Market Place at 7pm.

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