Town starts to get ready for switch-on

SLEIGH bells will be ringing in Banbridge town centre later this month as the Christmas lights are officially switched on amid a flurry of festive activity.

The town’s Chamber of Trade has been working closely with the council to host a Christmas celebration to remember on Friday November 25.

Children will be treated to a fun fair and a visit from Father Christmas himself and adults can enjoy the excitement of the Christmas hamper competition which will run again this year following the the 2010 success.

On the day the Cut will be closed to traffic from 3pm to allow the setup of the Children’s fun fair under the bridge. From 5pm Linenhall Street will be closed to allow the stage to be prepared for the arrival of Santa and Newry Street will close from 6pm.

Town centre customers will again be able to enter the ‘Christmas for Free’ competition run by the Chamber of Commerce and Trade. Like last year, each letter of the word Christmas will be hidden in the windows of local shops and businesses.

Those eagle-eyed shoppers who spot them will be entered into a draw to win one of three luxury Christmas hampers. The goodies available for the lucky winners are valued at up to £1,300 and will include an iPad, clothes, shopping vouchers and traditional seasonal goods such as turkey, mince pies and cake.

The treasure hunt will take place from 5p until 9pm and will coincide with some generous discounts in the town centre that evening.

Chamber President Joe Quail said he is delighted the competition will run again this year. “We are delighted to run this scheme again as it proved a great success last year. These are tough economic times and the traders wanted to link up again and give something back to our loyal customers who have supported us all year.”

Street entertainment, beginning at 6.30pm, will include a stilt walker, a unicycling elf and Mickey and Minney Mouse. A carol service will take place at 7pm and the evening will also feature a Silver Band, soloist Majella Farrell and the Chairman’s speech.