EXCITEMENT is mounting as Barnstaple gets ready to party with what looks like being its biggest and best Winter Festival launch to date. The Christmas Light Switch on takes place on Sunday, November 22 and town centre manager Craig Bulley is quietly conf

EXCITEMENT is mounting as Barnstaple gets ready to party with what looks like being its biggest and best Winter Festival launch to date.

The Christmas Light Switch on takes place on Sunday, November 22 and town centre manager Craig Bulley is quietly confident.

"Getting UK chart toppers, Noisettes to come down to North Devon and switch on our Christmas lights is going to provide an amazing headline act," he said.

"We are delighted to continue to build on our growing reputation as one of the best events of its kind in the South West and, judging by the number of inquiries from people out of the area who are making a special trip up to Barnstaple for the day, we are the envy of many of the larger towns."

The Christmas Light Switch on begins at 12.45 with a 'Spirit of Christmas' parade through the town. Following a series of free workshops for children and young people held throughout November, two giant processional puppets depicting the spirit of Christmas will lead the parade, together with the Barnstaple Youth Marching Band and the Lampard Vachelle Samba Band. The parade will also feature school children from the Barnstaple area wearing masks they have made in school, ensuring the parade is a true spectacle!

"We have tried to involve different sectors of the community and make this an event one to appeal to all ages," said Craig. "This year, in addition to all our stage acts, we also have a family fun fair along The Strand, so there really will be something for everyone."

The busy schedule of entertainment acts starts at 13.00 on The Square where children in the Spirit of Christmas parade will converge as The North Devon Gang Show take to the stage to entertain in their inimitable style, followed by carols from Orchard Vale and Pilton Infants Schools. There are two stages this year so the entertainment is ongoing as next up it's the turn of the adults with music from the popular North Devon Community Gospel Choir, followed by classical singer, Jaden Cornelius, and then folk songstress, Jenna Witts. The tempo goes up a notch as Maybe Naked get rocking the crowd with covers of many well known popular songs. Then it's the turn of local singer/songwriter Sam Dowden before much loved, The Breaks Collective get the crowds dancing on The Square.

A brief interlude in the music will follow when North Devon Hospice, celebrating their 25th anniversary, announce live on stage the winner of the first prize of a Ford KA. North Devon Theatres are also pulling out the hat the winners of VIP tickets to see this year's panto, Cinderella. Then it's on with the show as The Dolly Rockers get the crowds well and truly going in readiness for the light switch on when the fabulous Noisettes push the plunger to switch on the Christmas lights before enthralling the waiting crowds with their performance.

Hosts for the day are Hopps & Chapple from Heart Radio, Seth Conway from ITV Westcountry and BBC Radio Devon's Richard Green. "Of course, none of this would be possible if it wasn't for our sponsors, to whom we say a huge 'Thank You'. To top it all off, we also have new Christmas lights this year", added Craig, "So come along and enjoy a real family day out, with plenty to hear, see and do and there will be hot food and drink on sale to keep you warm."

For further information, contact Barnstaple Town Centre Management on 01271 321049.