Thursday, 12 December 2019

Extra attractions at late night Christmas festival

Extra attractions at late night Christmas festival

SHOPPERS are being encouraged to support Henley’s independent retailers at the town’s Christmas Festival next Friday evening.

The town council, which is organising the annual event, is providing a host of family attractions to encourage people.

Many of the town centre shops and businesses will be open late and have special offers for the night.

Town and community manager Helen Barnett said: “More retailers than ever have agreed to open later this year. They are embracing what we are doing with the festival as they can see the value in taking part.

“Many will have special offers and with it also being Black Friday, shoppers will have this double whammy of deals.

“We have put on added attractions around the town with buskers to encourage people to come, enjoy themselves and support our shops.

“Please help our local retailers and make sure that you do your Christmas shopping locally while having some fun.”

The festival will start at 5pm with a children’s parade from the River & Rowing Museum in Mill Meadows to Friday Street. They will be accompanied by the Prince from Sleeping Beauty, this year’s pantomime at the Kenton Theatre.

The procession will be led by reindeer and the children will carry lanterns they have made at the museum’s art workshops.

They will then make their way to Market Place and from 5.30pm will sing around the Christmas tree.

At 6pm, the Divas and Dudes dance academy, with children aged from three to 12, will perform Sparkle & Shine in front of the town hall. There will also be a performance by the Stagecoach theatre group.

This will be followed at 6.30pm by traditional carol singing by the Henley Youth Choir.

At 7pm the lights on the town’s Christmas tree, a 30ft Nordmann fir sponsored by Invesco, will be lit up by Mayor Ken Arlett and Phoebe Carey, six, of Reading Road, Henley, who won this year’s Mayor’s Christmas card design competition.

At about 7.10pm, a choir from the d:two centre and the Henley Youth Choir will lead traditional carol singing, accompanied by the Woodley Concert Band.

Ms Barnett said: “We wanted to make the switch-on more of an event in itself so we have more performers, which will appeal to parents and families as well as helping create the festive spirit.

“We are involving some of the pantomime characters from Sleeping Beauty and there will also be Ernie the elf.”

Father Christmas will be in his grotto at the Regal Picturehouse cinema from 4pm to 8.30pm. Entry is free and each child will receive a gift specially created by Lawlor’s bakers.

Roads in the town centre will be closed as about 80 stalls hosted by Henley charity and community groups are set up to raise money. Many shops will be open until 9pm.

In Friday Street, reindeer will be in a pen for photographs after the lantern parade.

Ferret Antiques will be offering free mince pies and cheese and pianist and singer songwriter Tim Valentine will be performing carols.

In Market Place, Gabriel Machin butchers will run its usual barbecue while the Argyll pub next door will sell mulled wine, hot dogs and sausages.

Feather & Black will have Black Friday special offers and Patisserie Valerie will be offering 15 per cent off any order.

In Hart Street, there will be a Victorian fun fair with small rides for children. Vintage Look will have a stand in the street and Frost Borneo opticians will be selling mulled wine, mince pies and squash in aid of the the Daisy’s Dream charity.

In Duke Street, there will be a Creative Duck pop-up shop selling a range of items made by local producers and Henley Cycles will be offering 10 per cent off everything.

Gorvett & Stone will offer free hot chocolate, the Thames Hospice shop will have refreshments indoors and the British Heart Foundation shop will be selling Christmas outfits and have half price offers on selected goods.

Laurence Menswear will have a charity stall outside giving away mulled wine and Christmas cake to raise money for Ben Clarke, who suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The shop will also have pre-Christmas offers.

The David Roger-Sharp jewellery shop will be serving spiced apple and Drambuie cocktails and offering 20 per cent off jewellery and up to 50 per cent off selected watches.

Lawsons Goldsmiths is offering free jewellery cleaning and Biggie Best will have 20 per cent off all day.

The Helen and Douglas House shop will have children’s tombola and a Christmas table of ornaments and decorations. There will be free sherry and mince pies and live music.

The Lemongrove Gallery will be offering a signed limited edition with each purchase over a certain amount. Vinegar Hill will have various discounts available and a choir will also be outside, singing carols.

In Bell Street, the Bell Bookshop will serve free Glühwein and stollen and offer double points on its loyalty card from 5pm to 8pm plus free tote bags while stocks last.

The Henley Pharmacy will be offering up to 50 per cent off Guerlain and Whistles is having a 30 per cent off promotion.

Bagatelle Toys will be open for toys and fun and will be dressed up for Christmas and Robert Dyas will have weekend offers of up to 50 per cent off many items.

Stocks and W H Smith will have seasonal offers while Fat Face staff will be outside offering free festive nibbles and drinks in store. Busby & Fox will have an extension to its store outside.

In New Street, Hotel du Vin will also have special festive offers.

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