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Town’s set for festive events
FAMILIES and shoppers in Swindon can look forward to a season of festive activities this year as the programme of events has been announced.
InSwindon, which is responsible for running the town centre, has announced a list of activities taking place this Christmas, with others to be added at a later date.
The pinnacle of the festivities will be the official turning on of the Christmas lights on November 21 at Wharf Green.
The ceremony will be accompanied by fireworks and performances from musicians and dancers.
Last year’s event saw the streets packed with almost 28,000 people to watch Jahmene Douglas turn on the lights.
Discussions are still underway for someone to flick the switch this year, but Rebecca Rowland, the inSwindon BID manager, has promised it will be an event everyone will enjoy.
She said: “The turning on of the Christmas lights is always the biggest event of the year in Swindon.
“People look forward to it and this year there will be lots on for families to come down and enjoy.
“The switch on is the perfect time to celebrate Swindon so there will be several local bands and Swindon Dance will be performing.”
The time of the switch on has been moved forward an hour from previous years to allow people to take advantage of the extended shopping hours.
Rebecca said: “Historically, the lights have been turned on at around 7pm but we have moved it forward this year.
“The turning on of the lights marks the first Thursday shops will be open later in the run-up to Christmas.
“Often people come in for the switch on and then don’t get a chance to use the shops, so this year we want to change that.
“Many people think it is the council that funds the Christmas lights but it is the traders in the town centre who provide the money.”
In the weeks running up to Christmas there will be a host of other events, including a film festival on November 30 which will see a number of festive films shown on the big screen at Wharf Green.
Included on the list of films to be shown are A Miracle On 34th Street and The Grinch with hot drinks to be served.
Several weeks later the Christmas market will start along Canal Walk on December 5. Doubts had been raised over whether a market could take place but it has been confirmed that 14 chalets will be located on Canal Walk until December 22.
It has yet to confirmed exactly what stalls will be in the market while licenses are dealt with but there will be a variety of local traders selling stocking fillers.
Full details of the events will be up online from Monday at www.swindontowncentre.co.uk
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