There will be no traditional Christmas lights switch-on event for the second year running because of the lingering concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
But the Melton Mowbray Christmas Market, from Friday to Sunday December 3 to 5, 10am until 4pm on each day. promises to be just as big a crowd puller.
As well as a large number of festive stalls selling gifts, local produce, food and drink and hand-crafted wares, there will be live music and entertainment throughout the weekend, including vintage vocalist and entertainer Miss Lily Love-Joy, music and dancing from Want2Dance and performances from the Rock Choir.
Other attractions will be Morris dancing, the return of the Bubble Wizard, displays of alpacas, shire horses and birds of prey, and Santa will be in his grotto in the Market Place from 10am to 2pm on the Friday and until 4pm on the Saturday and Sunday.
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Shelagh Core, manager of the Melton BID, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the Melton Mowbray Town Estate to bring a three-day Christmas Market back to the town centre this year, after what has been a challenging and difficult time for businesses and residents.
“With music, attractions and family entertainment, we hope that it will provide the perfect opportunity to enjoy some Christmas gift-buying and local shopping, whilst also indulging in a drink or lunch in one of our many cafes, restaurants and bars.”
This year’s festive celebrations will also include, for the first time, a Winter Fair in the town park with family fun and entertainment in store throughout the three days.
Visitors will also get a chance to book a trip on a steam train with the 7029 Clun Castle and 6233 Duchess Of Sutherland visiting the town - passengers wll get the chance to take a lunchtime journey across the Harringwirth Viaduct with its spectacular views across the valley.
Coaches from outside the borough are already booking up to attend the three days of the market and there will be free parking in Melton in the council’s long stay car parks on the Friday - as well as on the other Fridays in December before Christmas.
The traditional Market Place Christmas tree has already been installed and will be lit up throughout the festive season.
Borough council leader, Councillor Joe Orson, said: “The Melton Mowbray Christmas Market is a marvellous annual event for our town which encourages locals and visitors to shop in Melton Mowbray town centre.
“Melton Borough Council is proud to work in partnership with the Melton BID and the Melton Mowbray Town Estate once more to ensure everything is in place to bring the festive spirit to the town during December and to encourage everyone to support our local economy after, what has certainly been, a turbulent time for many businesses.”
Visitors will also get a chance to visit the Christmas Trees @ St Mary’s event - with entries from community groups, schools and clubs - which will be running in the town church from December 1 to the 8.
If you are interested in booking tickets on the steam train at the Christmas market, go online at www.vintagetrains.co.uk/harringworth-viaduct for details.