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Thursday, 24 May 2018
THIS year’s Henley Christmas shopping event has been rebranded and will be held a week later than usual.
The Festive Sunday Shopping Event will take place on Sunday, December 11 from 11am to 4pm.
It replaces the High Street Hootenanny, which was held for the first time last year on the same weekend as the Christmas Festival.
Many of the shops usually closed on Sundays will open their doors for the day with special offers.
The initiative is designed to promote local retailers, generate footfall and boost the economy. Helen Barnett, Henley town manager, said: “Last year, this event was called the Hootenanny, which no one really understood, so this year it has been rebranded to do what it says on the tin — festive Sunday shopping with fun events and activities and free town-wide car parking.
“The event has moved to the weekend after the late-night Christmas festival and will be held between 11am and 4pm, thus ensuring that potential shoppers do not have shopping fatigue and are more ready to do their Christmas shopping.
“Many retailers will have offers in store. Almost all those who were on board last year saw a benefit to the event and will be having similar activities this year.” Higgs Group, publisher of the Henley Standard, is sponsoring the event and is printing a special promotional leaflet that will be delivered to households and businesses.
All Brakspear pubs in Henley have been declared Christmas “shopping-free zones” for the day, so those who want to escape the hustle and bustle have somewhere to go and relax.
Ms Barnett said she was working with retailers to encourage those who don’t normally open on Sunday to do so and to do something in store to entice people inside.
She is also in talks with entertainers to perform on the day. Ms Barnett said: “Music on the Meadows will have a platform for some of their better performers and they will play at strategic locations throughout the town centre.
“This is to encourage shoppers to the extremities of the centre, helping drive footfall and sales. We are talking to a number of entertainers and choirs.”
The Local Larder will have a stall in Market Place selling produce from within a 30-mile radius of Henley.
Father Christmas will also make an appearance while the Kenton Theatre in New Street will be hosting face-painting workshops and various books stores will have story readings.
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