NEWTON ABBOT marks the start of Christmas this weekend with the switching on of the town's Christmas lights. And that's only the start of a season packed with festive events and fun for all the family!
The festivities begin this Saturday, 17 November, as Newton Abbot warms up for the Christmas lights switch-on with a feast of entertainment in the town centre, including live music, face painting and balloon modelling. Courtenay Street will be the focus for the main events, with a street market and Dr Zoolittle's Christmas Farm. At 4.30pm the Town Crier, Father Christmas, the Carnival Queen and her attendants and the Mayor of Newton Abbot board the Winter Carnival float and join the little ones from Magpies pre-school in a parade from the War Memorial to Father Christmas's winter home at the Clock Tower.
Father Christmas will switch on the lights at 5.30pm and then head off on his travels again in a wonderful flurry of lights and noise from the Clock Tower roof. But don't worry – he'll be back in Santa's Grotto at the Clock Tower on Saturdays and Wednesday evenings throughout December, when there will be plenty more entertainment for shoppers to enjoy, including live music, carols, morris dancing, magic and balloon modelling!
Shops in the town centre will open late every Wednesday throughout the month, with the Victorian Evening on 5 December from 6.00pm. This popular event promises fun for everyone, with charity stalls in the Market Square and Market Walk, a Tea Dance in the Market Hall, children's entertainment and carols in the Market Square and Torbay Brass performing outside Austins in Courtenay Street. Don't miss it!
The fun continues at the Christmas Street Fayre on 12 and 19 December when Queen Street and Courtenay Street will be filled with market stalls and entertainment including live music, circus acts, balloon modelling and the chance to star in your own Nativity. And remember to look out for the fairies, elves and reindeer!
After all that Christmas shopping, most of us welcome a nice cup of tea and a sit-down, and on Saturday 1 December, the Vintage Tea Traveller comes to the rescue with a Vintage Christmas Tea Party in aid of Rowcroft Hospice. And on 27 November, residents of The Priory retirement village are inviting visitors to join them for mulled wine and mince pies to mark the start of the festive season.
Finally, what would Christmas be without a Carol Service? Newton Community Choir and Newton Gospel Group are hosting a free Christmas Carol Concert on 8 December at The Avenue Church. All are welcome! And make a note in your diary to join the Mayor and Town Council for the annual Mayor's Carol Service on 14 December at St Mary's Church, Abbotsbury, and really get into the Christmas Spirit!
There's lots more happening in and around Newton Abbot in the run-up to Christmas, so keep watching this space – and do let us know if you have an event you'd like to share!