Christmas cheer for Lavenham Fair
PUBLISHED: 13:01 20 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:01 20 November 2019
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Lavenham is getting ready to host thousands of visitors to its annual Christmas Fair - but it was facing a bleak midwinter this year, with even the threat of Santa being left homeless.
A combination of spiralling costs, lack of organisers and the loss of the premises used to house Santa's grotto left a question mark over this year's event - between December 6-8 - even taking place.
Spokesman Lesley Thompson said: "At one point earlier this year it was looking touch and go, but it's now very much on.
"It's a big part of the Lavenham year so we were very sad to think it might not happen.
"It was very much on-off at the beginning of the year due to a lack of support and funds, but villagers and local businesses have rallied round with help and donations."
Santa's grotto was previously housed in a building in the Market Place which has since been sold.
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It will now be in a marquee behind the Greyhound pub between Lady Street and the High Street.
Ms Thompson said last year saw more than 7,000 visitors to the fair, which raised more than £1,500 for local charities.
"It's not about making money, so long as we break even we are able to give the rest to charity," she said.
"But the event has grown enormously in recent years, which is good news for the retailers here, and there is a lot of good shopping to be had at the fair."
This year's event takes place between Friday December 6 and Sunday December 8 and will feature more than 50 stalls selling festive produce including locally produced food and wine, chocolate, cheese, cakes, and Christmas puddings.
Visitors are encouraged to dress in Dickensian style, with a prize for Best Costume, and also a prize for the Best Dressed Dickensian shop window.
The programme also includes a guided lantern tour of Lavenham on Saturday, with stories of traditions, legend and ghost tales, then ending up with mulled wine and mince pies at The Swan hotel.