At the end of November, Cheltenham’s gets into the Christmas spirit when Father Christmas arrives to turn on the town’s Christmas lights, heralding the start of the Christmas celebrations. From 1pm, town centre shoppers are entertained and amused by street performers, such as jugglers, clowns, balloon artists, drummers, elves etc. Entertainment is centred around High Street and The Promenade, and inside the Beechwood Shopping Centre and the Regent Arcade Shopping Centre.
|Christmas Lights in the Regent Arcade
Later in the day, attention turns to the Imperial Gardens where the spectacular Christmas Party starts, hosted by Star 107.5. Father Christmas walks through the town and switches the lights first in Beechwood Shopping Arcade and then in Regents Arcade. At 6pm Father Christmas arrives to the party in Imperial Gardens and meets characters from the Everyman Theatre pantomime. The traditional countdown to the switch starts the Christmas season in Cheltenham.
Performance of top band McFly in 2006 drew a record number of visitors to the party which took place in The Promenade. Special guests of Father Christmas were Wallace and Gromit. In 2007, when the party moved to Imperial Gardens, the guests included Fifi, Bumble and characters from Everyman's pantomime Dick Whittington. 2008 brought SpongeBob SquarePants & Patrick and helping with the switch were the RnB girl band The Honeyz.
German-style Christmas market comes to The Promenade each Christmas for ten days in November. Up to 60 decorated wooden chalets sell a wide range of quality crafts and gifts, Christmas decorations and seasonal foods, as well as warming Glühwein.
Christmas Charity market is held at the beginning of December on the Promenade, giving shoppers an opportunity to support their favourite local charities at Christmas time. A wide range of stalls from many Cheltenham based charities will set out their wares to tempt shoppers throughout the day.
Cheltenham’s regular fortnightly farmers’ market takes on a Christmas flavour on the last Friday before Christmas, with live entertainment as shoppers shop for festive fresh food treats.
CHELTENHAM XMAS LIGHTS SWITCH ON 2010