Bury gears up for Christmas lights switch-on and renowned yuletide shop opens

Last year's Bury St Edmunds Light Switch-On

Last year's Bury St Edmunds Light Switch-On

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas as Bury St Edmunds gears up for its festive lights switch-on and Blackthorpe Barn launches its yuletide shop.

Business Improvement District (BID) organisation Ourburystedmunds has lined up a packed programme of entertainment for the switch-on on Thursday, November 17.

George Agnew (Rougham Estate), Cllr Julie Wakelam (Mayor of St Edmundsbury), Sarah Howard (Chair Suffolk Chamber), Ady White (Blackthorpe Barn) ANL-160211-120107001

George Agnew (Rougham Estate), Cllr Julie Wakelam (Mayor of St Edmundsbury), Sarah Howard (Chair Suffolk Chamber), Ady White (Blackthorpe Barn) ANL-160211-120107001

The build up will start from about 3pm with stage entertainment outside Moyse’s Hall from 3.15pm as well as fund-raising stalls and the return of the popular festive penguins.

Mark Cordell, chief executive of Ourburystedmunds, said: “Since the BID took over the organisation of the Christmas lights switch-on event we’ve increased and improved the Christmas lights display across the town centre.

“I’m confident this year the lights will look stunning and I’m especially pleased that for the first time since the terrible Cupola House fire in 2012, The Traverse will be back to its former glory with a full sized Christmas tree, courtesy of Blackthorpe Barn and great decorations.”

The event marks the start of free parking on a Thursday from 4pm for late night shoppers.

On the same night, the arc shopping centre will also turn on its new red and white festive lighting scheme.

There is fun for all the family from 4pm to 8pm with a free Santa Shy and Hook a Present plus a Rodeo Reindeer with the person who stays on the longest winning £50 to spend in the centre. Lisa Jayne’s Sweet Bus will be arc and giving the first 100 people a free candy cane and there will be performances from the Jessica Barber Academy of Dance.

Meanwhile, the Mayor of St Edmundsbury Cllr Julia Wakelam has launched the renowned Country Christmas Shop at Blackthorpe Barn, in Rougham, which is open every day until December 22.

Craft makers will showcase their wares each weekend from November 12 to December 11 and Rougham Estate Christmas trees will be on sale from November 26.