Christmas is coming to Stowmarket - and it is only July
Most would think it is still a bit early to be thinking of snow, stockings and Santa Claus but not in this Suffolk market town.
In preparation for the hugely popular Stowmarket Christmas Tree Festival, which will take place between November 22 and January 4 this winter, applications for those wanting to take part have already opened.
The festival will celebrate its 15th anniversary this year and it is expected that there will be more trees than ever before on display, securing its place as one of the UK's biggest Christmas Tree festivals.
Organisers have added an extra venue for the expected 30,000 visitors to explore making this year the biggest festival yet.
But with hundreds of decorated trees expected, the organisers are starting early.
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As well as Christmas trees in the Parish Church, Stowmarket Library and Abbots Hall in The Museum of East Anglian Life, there will be trees in the garden at Red Gables for the first time.
Judy Eden, Festival coordinator, said: "Once again we are inviting all groups, organisations, businesses, charities and schools in the town as well as individuals, friends and families to take part and decorate a tree.
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"The trees are provided free of charge but we ask that you provide your decorations to fit in with the theme of the venue.
"There are a limited number of trees so we advise that you apply to decorate a tree in good time.
"If you are interested in being part of this wonderful community event and would like to know more or would like an application form do get in touch."
The festival began back in 2005 with a modest 80 Christmas trees in St Peter and St Mary's Church.
Since then it has grown year by year with more trees added each time. Last year people travelled from all over the country and sometimes from overseas to see the trees.
Each location has a different theme to celebrate different areas of the festive season.
At Stowmarket Parish Church, the theme will be Carols and Christmas Verse while at Stowmarket Library it will be Christmas Songs. At Abbots Hall the theme will be the farm at Christmas and at the Red Gables the theme will be Holly and Ivy.
Anyone who would like to decorate at tree at any of the locations is asked to contact:
- The parish church on 01449 774652