Town set to light up for Christmas

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Harrogate is set to add the sparkle to the Christmas shopping season with the official lights switch-on and the opening of the highly popular Christmas Market today.

And talented musicians from schools and community groups across the Harrogate district will perform at both major events.

In 2015, Harrogate Christmas Market attracted around 60,000 people, with many stopping to enjoy the music as they shopped.

This year’s musical line-up is set to be bigger and better than ever, with many past performers returning, as well as a host of new names joining the programme.

Marian Farrar, of St Aidan’s High School, who has organised the busking schedule, said: “The buskers are a key part of the Christmas Market as they create a wonderful festive atmosphere. We get so many lovely comments about the music from visitors and traders.

“With a potential audience of more than 60,000, it’s a major showcase for musicians and it provides the perfect opportunity to highlight how fantastic our local music scene is.”

Among the performers are The Puffin Ensemble and The Harrogate and District Gang Show.

Now in its fifth year, Harrogate Christmas Market has almost 20 traders selling home-made and hand-crafted products. The 200 spaces for traders sold out in record time and organisers expect more than 60,000 visitors to travel to the market from across the country.

The fifth annual Harrogate Christmas Market takes place from Thursday, November 17 to Sunday, November 20, in the area around St Mary’s Walk, from 10am to 8pm, except Sunday when it closes at 5pm.

And from 4pm today a single bus trip into town from anywhere in Harrogate and Knaresborough will be £1 on the Harrogate Bus Company service for the Christmas lights switch-on outside the Victoria Shopping Centre.

The switch-on starts at 4pm, hosted by Stray FM presenters Will Smith and Christopher Dean, with performances from Harrogate High School and community singers All Together Now, among others.

Mayor of Harrogate, Coun Nick Brown will turn on the lights at 6pm and the evening ends with a short carol service at St Peter’s Church at 6.15pm.