The season of goodwill is just a couple of weeks away in Accrington, with a host of fun-packed events planned.
The town’s big Christmas lights switch-on is on Thursday, November 24, with live music, fireworks and a Christmas craft market.
The free family entertainment starts at 6pm, with former Britain’s Got Talent and X Factor stars headlining 2BR’s live radio stage show.
Local songstress Ella Shaw from Langho, who appeared on Britain’s Got Talent last year, will be performing live on stage. Ella will be joined by singer and Britain’s Got talent finalist Wayne Woodward, and X Factor auditionee Jamie Hutchinson.
The lights will be switched on at 7.30pm when three-year-old Charlie Procter, from Church, who has spent most of this year in hospital battling stage four liver cancer, will push the plunger to set the town aglow.
A firework display will follow at 7.40pm and mince pies with mulled wine and hot chocolate will also be on offer until 8pm from sponsors Duckworths estate agents on St James’ Street, along with ducks with free balloons.
There will be the chance to win a Christmas hamper too by calling into the shop on the night.
Coun Clare Cleary, who chairs the Accrington Town Team, said: “Our traders and town centre businesses always pull out all the stops to give Accrington a real festive buzz at Christmas and this year will be no different.
“With late night opening and special events there’s lots going on and I hope shoppers will head into town to discover everything that Accrington has to offer.”
Shops in the Arndale Centre will stay open on the evening and from 4.30pm Accrington Town Hall’s ballroom will play host to a free Christmas craft market selling a range of goods from jewellery to homewares.
Father Christmas will also make an appearance at Accrington Town Hall, with 50 time slots available to see him.
Tickets must be booked in advance on 01254 380 293 or at accringtontownhall.co.uk.
The cost per child is £8 and includes a gift and the chance to make magical reindeer dust. Discounts are available for groups of children visiting Santa together.
There will also be a festive fun fair along Broadway with tasty street food.
Following the big town centre event on November 24, a lights switch-on will be held at the Church Kirk Clock at 6.30pm on Tuesday, November 29. Barnes Square in Clayton-le-Moors is the next to be illuminated, at 6.30pm on Wednesday, November 30. The Blessing of the Crib takes place outside Accrington Town Hall on Thursday, December 1 at 2pm followed by Baxenden’s lights illumination on Southwood Drive/Manchester Road at 6.30pm.
Great Harwood’s Towngate Square event is on Friday, December 2 at 6.30pm, and in Rishton at the Civic Centre/Library on Saturday, December 3 at 4pm.
Huncoat’s festive celebrations are on Lowergate Road on Monday, December 5 at 6pm and Milnshaw’s at Dyke Nook gardens on Tuesday, December 6 at 6pm.
Jubilee Gardens in Oswaldtwistle will be lit up on Wednesday, December 7 at 6.30pm while Burnley Road in Altham will host a covered Christmas market and fairground from 2pm to 9pm on the same day, with an illuminated tractor parade and an X Factor-style choir competition.
The Christmas tree lights will be switched on at 6pm.
Accrington’s Dickensian Christmas event is also back on Thursday, December 8 from 4.30pm to 9pm, with this year’s musicians, entertainers and stalls spread out over both Warner Street and Church Street.
Hyndburn council leader Coun Miles Parkinson said: “Christmas is always an important time for families to have a rest from the hard work they do. Novelty-themed events like the Dickensian Christmas draw people in to visit the town and the shops.”