Businesses in Bury St Edmunds are encouraged to get their festive window decorations ready ahead of the town’s Christmas lights switch-on next week.
The displays will be secretly judged early next month before the winner is presented with the Ourburystedmunds shield for best Christmas window.
It will follow the lights switch-on on Thursday, November 20 (St Edmund’s Day) with entertainment kicking off from 2pm.
Highlights include a display of penguins and a full programme of stage entertainment from 3pm by local schools and West Suffolk College before the lights are switched on at 7pm.
The ceremony will be performed by BBC Radio Suffolk presenter Mark Murphy, who compaigned to see St Edmund replace St George as England’s Patron Saint.
Mark Cordell, chief executive of Ourburystedmunds, said: “We’re looking forward to a great event this year, with an afternoon and evening packed full of entertainment in the Cornhill and Buttermarket and of course it will be the first Thursday of free from three parking in the town in the weeks leading up until Christmas.
“The shops and businesses in Bury St Edmunds always make such a tremendous effort with their window displays for Christmas and I’m sure this year will be no different.”
The arc shopping centre will join the festivities for the lights switch-on with fun and games in Charter Square from 4pm to 8pm.
Aswell as late opening shops, shoppers will have the chance to test their rodeo skills on a mighty mechanical reindeer. There will be festive twists on carnival classics such as hook a present.
After the switch-on, most of the shops will stay open during the evening every Thursday in the run up to Christmas.
Colin Roberts, centre manager, said: “The Christmas lights switch on marks the start of our late night shopping and brings such a great buzz to the centre.
“We’re delighted to be able to host these fun games and activities for families to enjoy. The countdown to Christmas has now truly begun.”