TODAY is the day the switch is thrown on Tamworth’s festive season with the town centre being turned into a winter wonderland to mark the start of the Christmas countdown.
A cracker of an afternoon has been planned for today, Sunday November 22 with festive fun for the whole family taking place from 1pm, ahead of the main event at 5pm when the lights will be switched on, bathing the town in Christmas cheer.
The 2014 switch-on was hailed the biggest and best to date, with estimated crowds of more than 9,000 people flocking to the town centre for new-look festivities, which were held on a Sunday for the first time.
This year’s free extravaganza hopes to build on that success with festivities including live music, fairground rides, a festive market, treasure hunt, craft activities in Ankerside Shopping Centre led by Tamworth Community CIC, a nativity under the Town Hall, the St Editha’s Church Christmas Tree Festival, walkabout characters, dance performances and face painting.
Last year’s new addition of the Christmas market will return this year, lining George Street with stalls selling a range of Christmas gifts, crafts, novelties, local produce and festive food.
Wilnecote St John’s Band will be adding to the atmosphere in George Street by performing traditional Christmas songs throughout the afternoon and St Francis Church will be leading the nativity under the Town Hall.
Entertainment will again centre around the Touch FM stage in St Editha’s Square, which will feature performances from a range of acts performing 15-minute slots from 2pm.
The line-up includes Urban Fusion Dance Company (2pm), Fired Up Theatre (2.15pm), Just Perform (2.45pm), Glen Chevannes and Dancers (3pm), Twin Cities (3.15pm), musicians Brindley-Hunt, aka Barry Hunt and Bryan Brindley (3.30pm), The Jays (3.45pm), Matilda Pratt (4pm), Tamworth Panto Company (4.15pm) and Tamworth Voices (4.30pm).
Young visitors will also enjoy guest appearances from Peppa Pig at intervals throughout the afternoon in Ankerside Shopping Centre and the cheeky piggy will be at the lights switch on from around 4.50pm alongside Father Christmas.
This year the honour of officially launching the festive season by switching on the lights will be performed by winner of the Mayor’s Christmas card competition Daisy-Mae Baker from Dosthill Primary School.
Mayor of Tamworth, Cllr Maureen Gant, said: “The Christmas lights switch-on is yet another popular event in Tamworth’s busy programme of free entertainment and it is now even bigger and better, thanks to the addition of the festive market and a range of activities taking place throughout the town centre.
“It has all the makings of a lovely afternoon out for the whole family and is a great way to start the countdown to Christmas. I look forward to seeing everyone there.”