The countdown is on to festive markets

Crowds at the Stamford Christmas Market and lights switch-on. EMN-141130-185700009
Crowds at the Stamford Christmas Market and lights switch-on. EMN-141130-185700009

There’s no getting away from it - Christmas is coming and towns across the area are getting ready to kick-off the festive season in style.

Bourne will start the events on Saturday, November 28, with its Magical Christmas Fair from 11am until 6pm in North Street and Wherry’s Lane. Both streets will closed from 8am to 8pm.

A stage will be set up in front of Bourne Town Hall with school choirs and bands performing throughout the day.

During the market, there will be festive stalls, tasty festive food and a small children’s funfair.

Santa will be hearing wish lists from children in his grotto before heading to the stage at about 4.30pm to switch on the Christmas lights alongside mayor Philip Knowles.

Many of the shops will be running offers, including the chance to win a camera worth £100 at Gordon’s Photographic and there’ll also be a competition for the best-dressed shop window.

Rosedale Property Agents are also getting involved in the fun, dressing as elves, while in Bourne Corn Exchange, there will be craft stalls.

The popular traditional Stamford Christmas Festival returns to the town on Sunday, November 29, from 10am to 6pm.

The event will be held in the centre of Stamford in the High Street, Ironmonger Street, Broad Street and Red Lion Square, which will be packed with traditional craft stalls offering a wide range of gifts.

Many of the town’s shops will also be opening for the event so you can finish - or even start - your Christmas shopping.

To add to the festive spirit there will be entertainment galore throughout the day including festive Punch and Judy shows, school choirs, Santa’s grotto, real reindeer and a children’s funfair.

Santa will then board his sleigh at the Town Hall before travelling onto Red Lion Square for the culmination of the event - the big lights switch-on at about 4.30pm.

Red Lion Square, St John’s Street, High Street, Ironmonger Street and Broad Street will be closed from 10pm on Saturday until midnight on Sunday. There will also be a no waiting order in place for Broad Street from midday on Saturday.

On the same day - Sunday, November 29 - Market Deeping Town Council will also host its own Christmas Market in the Market Place.

This year there will be many traders at the market selling a wide range of goods from cheeses, meats, and locally brewed beer to jewellery, paintings, gift ideas and much, much more. As well as the traditional market and craft stalls, there will be plenty of entertainment on the stage from local groups and schools along with the Junior Town Crier competition.

A juggler and clown will be walking amongst the stalls during the day.

The day starts at 10am when Santa arrives on his sleigh and the market is declared open. As the festivities get into full swing a funfair provides additional excitement for the children and there is a variety of food and drink for the whole family to enjoy.

The local shops, pubs and restaurants will be open to give all visitors a warm welcome and enhance the market experience.

Entertainment will be on the main stage throughout the day, with Keith Dalton as the guest presenter.

Then, as the sun sets at 4.30pm, Market Deeping mayor Wayne Lester, will launch the countdown and switch on the town’s festive lights.

On the same day, Oakham Town Council mayor Alf Dewis will also flick the switch on the tree at 6.30pm. A band and choir will sing festive songs to get people in the mood while there will be mince pies and mulled wine to tuck into.

A few days later on Thursday, December 3, it’s Uppingham’s turn to get festive.

Running from 5.30pm to 9pm,events including a skating rink, craft and gift fairs in the Town Hall and the church hall, a free concert in the Methodist Church and performances by Rutland Musical Theatre, Uppingham School, local primary schools, Rutland Choral Society, Uppingham Jazz and Soul.

Magicians, walking trees and fire-walkers will be milling around while there will also be children’s entertainment in the church, including an appearance by Santa, face painting, balloon modelling.

Many of the town’s independent traders will be opening their doors for shoppers to take advantage of the late-night hours.

The Christmas lights will be switched on at 5.45pm, compered by Rutland Radio’s Rob Persani.

This year, organisers have instigated a park and ride system to ease parking problems of the past. Find out more at http://christmasinuppingham.co.uk/smart_park.html

The Hopper bus will also be running on the night.

On Monday, December 7, Oakham Town Partnership is hosting the late night shopping event, from 4pm until 9pm. The event includes street entertainers, market stalls and a funfair.

For last-minute shoppers, Christmas eve markets will take place in Bourne in the Corn Exchange area and Stamford in Broad Street.

And this weekend and next week, there are dozens of Christmas events in villages across the area, as well as the festive event at Burghley House.