Ashbourne News Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Gareth But­ter­field gareth.but­ter­[email protected]­bourne­new­stele­

THE Christ­mas sea­son is un­der way in Ash­bourne.

The town coun­cil of­fi­cially kicked off fes­tiv­i­ties by turn­ing on the town’s Christ­mas lights on Satur­day at an event that saw crowds turn out to soak up the spirit of the sea­son.

This year, the win­ners of a chil­dren’s art com­pe­ti­tion were given the pres­ti­gious op­por­tu­nity to flick the switch and set the lights run­ningl

Five-year-old Al­ice Har­ri­son, from Hilltop Pri­mary School, and 10-year-old El­iza Pot­ter, of Os­mas­ton Pri­mary School, were the mayor’s guests of hon­our for the day.

The switch-on was the high­light of a day of fes­tive events, cen­tred around the Mar­ket Place.

Ash­bourne Town Hall hosted a fes­tive craft fair through­out the day, with a mayor’s re­cep­tion be­gin­ning in the af­ter­noon ahead of the main event. Father Christ­mas and his rein­deer, Ash­bourne Town Band, and char­ac­ters from Mat­lock Bath’s Gul­liver’s King­dom also en­sured fam­i­lies were en­ter­tained.

The next big event in the town’s fes­tive cal­en­dar is the ever-pop­u­lar tra­di­tional latenight shop­ping evening on Fri­day, De­cem­ber 7, which has been rekin­dled by a new group of or­gan­is­ers who have got to­gether to work with the town coun­cil.

A daz­zling lantern pro­ces­sion is due to take place at 6.30pm, mark­ing an of­fi­cial start to the fes­tiv­i­ties on the night.

Shops are due to stay open un­til 9pm and the streets will be closed to al­low room for shop­pers, with stalls set up at var­i­ous points around the town and the usual en­ter­taine­ment, in­clud­ing live mu­sic, will be on of­fer.

On Christ­mas Eve, Ash­bourne Town Coun­cil and Ash­bourne Town Band will be lead­ing a carol ser­vice around the Christ­mas tree from 7.30pm.

And on Box­ing Day, the Four Shires Blood­hounds is due to meet for its an­nual trail hunt on the Mar­ket Place from 1pm.

Carla Fletcher from Clay Cross

Santa and Mrs Claus

Jane Gre­gory, Chris Baker and grand­son Lu­cas, aged one

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