By Paul Geater
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
THE festive season has arrived in the town centre with the arrival of a huge Christmas Market – complete with Santa’s grotto.
And the town’s new Christmas lights are going up around the main shopping centre ready for next weekend’s big switch-on.
The four-day Christmas market opened Thursday and runs until Sunday.
Stalls selling specialist foods including cheese, pastries, and sweets are rubbing shoulders with hot food stalls, and those selling clothes and gifts.
Meanwhile planning continues for next week’s big lights switch on in the town centre.
Most of the lights have now been put up – new lights have been bought by Ipswich Central and the borough council.
They will be switched on during special ceremonies on Sunday, November 25 – at the end of a day of festive celebrations in the town centre.
Kicking things off at noon, snow will begin falling and the festive street performers will emerge on to the Cornhill to kick-start the celebrations.
At 12.30pm local group Samboomba will be dancing on the streets.
The snow will continue to fall throughout the afternoon, and there’s the opportunity to see a special showing of “It’s A Wonderful Life” at the Ipswich Film Theatre from 1.45pm.
At 3pm The Red Rose Chain will be performing a festive arrangement, and this will be followed by a routine by Ipswich-based Funky Voices.
The Wattisham Military Wives will be performing at 3.55pm on the Cornhill with a Christmas chorus.
The stars of the Regent panto and members of the cast from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will be making an appearance at 4.30pm.
Father Christmas will emerge onto the balcony at 4.50pm with the child winners of the Ipswich Star and Town 102 competition to officially begin the Christmas celebrations, with the Big Switch On taking place at about 5pm.
The new spectacular lights span across the retail heart of the town, down to and including the Waterfront.
There are about 250,000 lights – all are low-energy bulbs.