Christmas can officially get under way this Friday when the button is pressed on Belper’s Christmas lights as part of a big switch on event!
Derby County FC Captain, Shaun Barker, club mascot Rammie and Belper mayor Mark Robertson have the honour of lighting-up the town this year.
Then following the success of last year’s inaugural Christmas Food Festival the town council is also planning another festive gastronomic extravaganza on Sunday, December 2.
However, plans to extend the food festival into a three day event had to be shelved because of problems with securing the appropriate permissions to close the roads.
Cllr Robertson told the Belper News: “The switch on is going to be absolutely fantastic. Everything I have done as mayor has been proud moments – but this will be another particularly special event to look back on.
“It’s going to be brilliant for families, Father Christmas will be there and there are plenty of activities going on.
“We think this year will be the biggest and best event ever. I will be walking round with my children talking to people and wishing them a Happy Christmas.
“We are also looking forward to welcoming Shaun and Rammie and I knowthere will be a lot of young Derby County supporters who are excited about that.”
The Belper switch-on will be the second of the night for Mr Robertson who is also carrying out the honours in Milford, where the lights are to be turned on at 5pm in the Strutt Arms car park and Milford School will be singing.
The festivities in Belper get underway at 5.30pm when The Mulberry Bush Nursery will be performing a selection of carols before the switch on takes place at 5.45pm.
During the evening Rough Truffles Community Choir, Belper Town Wind Band and St Elizabeth’s School Choir will also be singing for the crowds.
The celebrations will stretch to the bottom of King Street where Jerry Howarth’s pork cobs will be on offer and the Fairground organ, barrel organ,charity stalls kids rides, tin can alley, striker, clown and Punch & Judy will be entertaining.
Santa’s Grotto will also be open to visitors, most of Belper’s shops will be open for people to pick up gifts andthe Lion Pub is holding a craft fair.
At 9pm, local singer Jasper will be rounding-off the evening with a a gig at the Shottle Farm Brewery at The Bull’s Head.
Thecelebratoins continue on Sunday when the Christmas Food Festival will get underway and will include 64 stalls selling gifts and food from ostrich to buffalo to mmore traditional fayre.
There will also be a beer festial in the Market Place, bouncy castle for the children and Soundhub Studios in Belper will be putting on various live performances throughout the town.The event takes place between 10am and 3pm.
Mr Robertson continued: “It has really grown since last year and will nearly be as big as the summer food festival, which had more than 80 stalls.
“It will be held on the Sunday as that’s the day that we could get permission to close the roads.”