PLANS have been announced for a very special Christmas in Christchurch.

The town will be holding a Yuletide Festival on Saturday, November 26, to kick off their Christmas celebrations.

Families and residents will be able to enjoy a vibrant parade, festive markets, live entertainment and an epic Christmas light switch on, in an event presented by Christchurch BID.

Christina Pengelly, manager at Christchurch BID, said: “The BID is thrilled to be funding festivities in Christchurch this year and working with Christchurch Chamber, Christchurch Town Council, Christchurch Rotary, BCP Council, and our wonderful sponsors to provide music, theatre, arts & crafts.

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“We hope people and businesses enjoy the Yuletide Procession alongside the Light Switch-On as well as a fantastic Yuletide space from November 26 in Saxon Square.”

The Yuletide Festival will begin in the Saxon Square at 11am, before crowds are treated to a festive Carol Service outside the Christchurch Baptist Church at 3pm.

Then, at 5pm, a theatrical procession will take off from Church Lane and travel down the high street.

It will feature Christchurch-based Gobbledegook and their entourage of more than 20 performers, as well as Mad4Dance, Highcliffe Charity Players, and Funky Little Choir, all performing as they move through the town.

The parade will then join with the Mayor of Christchurch to assist with the Christmas light switch on.

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This year’s Yuletide festivities will also include a Yuletide Market on the High Street with a stage for music and entertainment, as well as workshops to make Yule headdresses, and stalls for storytelling and face painting.

There will be a second Christmas Market in the Saxon Square, staying open from November 26 all the way through to Christmas Eve, and selling a range of art, craft, artisan food and drink gifts.

Mandy Polkey, event manager at Stir! Events, who have helped to organise the festival, said: “This year, Christchurch is doing things differently. We’re making a new story, a myth, a new folk ritual for the lighting up of the High Street for Christmas.”