Fakenham set to sparkle

A large crowd turned out to see Father Christmas turn on the Christmas Lights in Fakenham town centr

A large crowd turned out to see Father Christmas turn on the Christmas Lights in Fakenham town centre. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Fakenham's Christmas lights extravaganza is set to fill the town with twinkling optimism - that was the message from organisers as they reveal plans for this year's switch-on.

The news comes in the wake of the cancelled fireworks event which was unable to go ahead this year due to the demise of the Fakenham Chamber of Trade.

This year's Christmas lights are also set to bring added joy to the market town which was hit by a devastating fire earlier this year.

Organisers Kick-Start Fakenham and the Fakenham Area Partnership (FAP) have promised that this year's switch-on event will be better than ever with a traditional festive theme on Saturday, November 29.

Carols will fill the market town with cheer while children will be able to go on fairground rides, street entertainers will impress the crowds and Father Christmas will take up residence in his walk-through grotto.

Janet Holdom, coordinator of FAP, which organises the installation of the lights, said: 'The switch-on will be a fun day and the lights will bring a month of twinkling optimism to the town. The town will feel brighter and happier.

'What is really inspiring is that it takes quite a bit of effort to raise enough money for the lights but a big section of the retail sector has contributed. It feels like we are all pulling together to make it happen.'

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She said electrical specialists Kings and Barnhams has offered to reinstall the equipment that enables the church tower to be lit up. The lights have not worked since the day of the fire at the Original Factory Shop on May 25.

She added: 'There will be one of two little extras this year. We are trying harder to make a difference after the setback from the fire and the impact it's had on the town centre.'

Fakenham's Christmas lights display costs about £7,500 which is underwritten by the town council with funds raised by Kick-Start Fakenham and FAP from businesses and fundraising events.

As part of this year's event, shops and businesses are being invited to fill their windows with festive displays to create a Christmas trail around the town. There will be a prize for the best dressed window, as judges by children in the town.

On the switch-on day, children will be able to visit Santa from 2pm while the lights will be turned on at 4.30pm.

Adrian Vertigan, chairman of Kick-Start Fakenham, said: 'The lights switch-on is always something everyone comes to and enjoys. It's important for people in the town to come together and we're really looking forward to it.'

Town mayor Jeremy Punchard said: 'Following the fireworks not going ahead this year, the switch-on will give families something to go to which doesn't cost the earth to be part of.'

For more information on the Christmas lights, go to www.kickstartfakenham.org.uk/xmas-lights-update

Are you planning to add festive sparkle to the area where you live? Email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk