THE festive season goes into full swing in Morpeth this weekend.
Among the activities taking place on Saturday is the Christmas Lights switching-on ceremony. This display covers the main streets in the town centre.
It is set to start at 4.10pm with a welcome and introduction from the Mayor, Joan Tebbutt, and will be followed by carol singing in the Market Place, led by Morpeth’s own star tenors and the Northumbrian Water Ellington Colliery Band. Carol sheets will be distributed.
A Christmas Address by the Rector of Morpeth, Rev Simon White, is scheduled for 4.50pm and the fancy dress winner at Fair Day will help the Mayor to turn on the lights five minutes later. In addition, there will be some festive bellringing by the Clock Tower Bellringers.
Saturday will also be the first chance to see the lights and decorations at Sanderson Arcade.
The team at the centre has chosen a traditional theme with a beautiful tree in the piazza area and a huge red bow wrapping round the front of the Bridge Street building as well as red carpet running along the gallery.
The switch-on event gets started at 2.30pm and Capital FM’s Rob Howard will be hosting the afternoon’s entertainment – with lots of games and prizes from 3pm.
Vocal harmony group Scarlett Street will treat shoppers to some Christmas classics and Santa will also be visiting the centre throughout the afternoon.
A special competition is being organised to find the family who will help get the Christmas shopping period underway at the Arcade by turning on the lights. The organisers are looking for the very best Christmas Smiles from children aged 11 and under and the winning youngster will also receive a hamper of Christmas goodies.
To enter, email your picture to email@example.com
At Rutherfords of Morpeth, pupils from Whalton and Longhorsley St Helen’s First Schools will launch a special Christmas postbox on the ground floor, where children visiting the Bridge Street store can dispatch their wish-lists to Santa throughout the festive season.
A 50-strong choir from Newminster and Chantry Middle Schools will entertain shoppers from noon and the store’s co-owners and directors Jane and Richard Rutherford will hand out mulled wine and mince pies to shoppers.
Its famous Christmas window will also be officially unveiled on the day. This year’s window, designed by store merchandiser Jill Harthill, features a snowy woodland scene with children and animals, as well as the Nativity scene.
An extensive range of gifts and crafts are available at the Mistletoe Fair in the Town Hall from 10am.
Parents and grandparents can enjoy mulled wine, mince pies and hot soup while children can have fun on the free roundabout situated in the Market Place.
All proceeds collected on the day are for the Mayor’s Charity – Henry Dancer Days.