CHRISTMAS comes to Fordingbridge this weekend as former Premier League manager Harry Redknapp switches on the lights.

Christmas in Fordingbridge takes place from 4pm to 8pm today (Saturday, November 30) and is being organised, run and funded by Fordingbridge Events Group on behalf of Fordingbridge Town Council.

The event will kick off at 4pm with a procession of Trigger the Train and the elves on heavy horse delivering Santa from the post office to his grotto at Avonway Community Centre.

The procession will start at Salisbury Street, travelling along High Street and down to Avonway Community Centre.Road closures will be place from 3.30pm until 8.30pm.

Entry to Santa’s grotto is free.

From 7.20pm, the Christmas lights will be switched on by Harry Redknapp.

Activities throughout the evening include street performers, live music as well as steam rides across the bridge. There will be performances from Alis Eaton, Kez Hinton, Bring It On Home band, Hyde Band, Shake Dance, Sandy Balls puppet show and Forres Sandle Manor choir. There will also be a clothes swap and book signing at Fordingbridge Library and All the Cool Stuff’s Star Wars event at the Town Hall.

Nicky Jenkins, the chair of Fordingbridge Events Group, said: “I would like to thank all of the committee, volunteers, sponsors of the Fordingbridge festival and the following businesses who have helped shaped our event this year – it’s looking very sparkly indeed.”

Parking in the town car parks will be free after 6pm and there will be additional free parking at Fordingbridge Sports club, Forres Sandle Manor (FSM) and The Burgate School. And there will be free shuttle buses running from The Burgate School and FSM.

This year sees a new Christmas window competition. Eagle-eyed members of the public are invited to take a close look at the shop windows and spot the object not usually for sale. Entry forms will be available from Saturday from The Gourmet Grocer, The Fordingbridge Bookshop, Caxtons, Fordingbridge Tourist Information Office and Created by You. The competition will run until the end of December and prizes include free gym membership at Sandy Balls for one year, a two night stay at Sandy Balls (subject to availability), a New Forest Water Park gift voucher for two people, a voucher for a family alpaca walk at Sandy Balls and a gold membership of The Regal Cinema.

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