Plans for Cheltenham Christmas lights switch-on revealed
CHRISTMAS cheer is being spread across Cheltenham as the town's festive events get under way.
The Brewery is already testing its lights ahead of the big unveil, then the town will unite to put on an extended festive spectacle to draw in more residents and visitors.
Street entertainers – including giant elves and the national touring group, Sugar Plump Fairies – will entertain shoppers before a "rolling" switch-on and parade.
The extravaganza starts at 5.15pm on November 24, as Father Christmas turns on the lights at Regent Arcade with Sid and Scrat from Ice Age.
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Santa will then do the honours at Beechwood Arcade before fronting up the parade, on the 30,000-light Trigger the Train, along the High Street to The Brewery for its countdown at 6.15pm.
Cheltenham Town Centre manager Martin Quantock said: "We're hoping people will come into town to do their shopping in the afternoon, be entertained and stick around in the evening. "Then it's an extended switch-on – not just a 3-2-1 bang and that's the end of it – but three switch-ons.
"People can enjoy the whole offering and not have to be in one place at one time. And as Santa and the parade work their way down the High Street all the lights will gradually come on in a little bit of Christmas magic."
The design of the arcades' "set-to-stun" lights is a closely-guarded secret.
But The Brewery spokeswoman Hannah King revealed: "We're excited as it's a change from the traditional to quite contemporary. There will be a large 3D ribbon across the walkway and big bright baubles."
Regent Arcade manager John Forward said: "It's going to be spectacular, with a lot of colour and hard decoration built in.
"Our walk-through Christmas tree will be the focal point and there will be low-level and high-level decorations, also decorations hanging from the ceiling."
Beechwood Shopping Centre manager Owen Acland said: "We're unveiling a "completely different" lights scheme but still in traditional cranberry red and spruce green."
It has previously been announced that Cheltenham Borough Council will only contribute £5,000 for lights on the lampposts and trees on the Promenade and High Street.
Christmas parade organiser Jo Heatley promised a "quirky and fun festive spectacle to make people chuckle".