Get set to celebrate Christmas lights switch on in Ilfracombe

08:24 24 November 2012

Street drummers Humdrumconundrum bang out the message of Christmas cheer at last year

Street drummers Humdrumconundrum bang out the message of Christmas cheer at last year's Lighting of the Lights in Ilfracombe.

Archant

Ilfracombe Lighting of the lights and more besides.

The crowd gathers for last year's Lighting of the Lights in Ilfracombe.The crowd gathers for last year's Lighting of the Lights in Ilfracombe.

THE true meaning of Christmas is a big part of Ilfracombe’s Lighting of the Lights event and will once again help to bring the community out to celebrate on Wednesday of next week (November 28).

Thousands will pack the ‘square’ by the war memorial to enjoy the sense of togetherness the family-orientated event always seem to inspire in the run up to the big switch on at 7pm.

This year RNLI mascot Stormy Stan will be doing the honours, to link in with the town’s recently launched appeal for a new Shannon class lifeboat.

In difficult financial circumstances, organisers Ilfracombe High Street Traders have moved mountains and drummed up support to ensure the popular festivities will be able to go ahead this year as planned.

An as yet unnamed celebrity will be leading the switch on countdown from atop the familiar yellow open topped double decker bus, supplied courtesy of Woolacombe Bay Holiday Park.

They will be joined by the Reverend Robert Harris, who will conduct a short blessing, plus the Mayor of Ilfracombe, Councillor Lynda Courtnadge.

Symbolising the powerful theme of moving from darkness into light, the event will begin with a lantern lit procession of local schoolchildren, who will make their way from the Oxford Grove car park and along the High Street, arriving at the square at 6.45pm.

As the town’s Christmas lights spring into life, the bus and its passengers will lead a colourful procession along the High Street, featuring the TLC Santa Sleigh, Ilfracombe Majorettes and Twirlers plus plenty of festive characters.

The street will be closed to traffic and abuzz with entertainers, activities, stalls and tasty refreshments, with its shops open for late night trade and the opportunity to finally get that Christmas shopping underway.

But Nick Pedlar of Ilfracombe High Street Traders is keen to remind people the season of goodwill is about much more than tinsel and fairy lights:

“We would like people to come along and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas as well as enjoy the fun and commercial side of it,” he said.

“It is not just about presents, but the birth of Jesus too and Ilfracombe has always tried to get that meaning across at the start of the lighting ceremony.

“We have had a good response from the traders of the town towards the event, which is encouraging and the public are always incredibly generous.”

The Webbers estate agents Ilfracombe premises will also be open on the night, inviting people to drop in for light refreshments, take part in games and competitions with prizes or for a chat about local property.

* Ilfracombe’s Harbour area and traders will be staging a packed day of activities and events on Sunday, December 2 to celebrate its own Christmas illuminations.

The lights will come on at 5pm and events include a Christmas Bazaar in Pip and Jim’s Church Hall from 1-5pm. There will be much more going on at pubs and businesses in and around the harbour, with plenty of festive music and fun. To book stalls for the Christmas Bazaar call June Williams at St James Dairy on 01271 862727.

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