Packed programme of fun for Christmas lights switch-on

Thu 20th November 2014

Christmas officially begins in St Austell when the town's lights are switched on as part of an evening of fun on Thursday November 20.

Popular Cornish comedian Kernow King will be compering while inspirational young Cornish fundraiser Madison Glinski will share the honour of hitting the switch with Santa himself.

White River Place and the St Austell Business Improvement District (BID) have been working together to lay on a packed programme of activity for the event.

Alymer Square (4.30pm) and the Market House (7pm) will host special appearances from Elsa and Olaf characters from the hit Disney film Frozen. Santa will also be in the Square between 6pm and 8pm complete with his sleigh to meet children.

The actual switch on will take place at 6pm in Alymer Square, when the 20ft Christmas tree in the square, the lights in White River Place and across the town will burst into life.

There will be fairground rides live music, market stalls, roasted chestnuts and entertainment across the town from 4pm - 8pm to entertain the crowds. Children can take part in a special treasure hunt and there will also be a free children’s workshop in Fore Street hosted by the popular Red Hand Gang.

The special guest for the event, nine-year-old Madison Glinski, from Lelant Downs, captured the hearts of many Cornish people this year when she raised £12,000 for Children’s Hospice South West by busking all over Cornwall throughout the summer holidays. She has since gone on to take this total to more than £19,000 and has set herself a target of reaching £20,000 by Christmas by busking, adopting cuddly toys and now selling her very own Christmas card range.

Richard Hurst, White River Place Centre Manager, said: “Christmas lights switch-on is always a very exciting evening for the town and we are delighted to be hosting the ceremony itself in White River Place for the first time.

“There is huge amount of entertainment lined up in the Centre and across the town. I hope as many people as possible will come and join the party, enjoy being among the first to see this year’s fantastic lights display and help get the countdown to Christmas in St Austell well and truly under way.”

Following the lights switch-on, White River Place and St Austell will come alive with festive fun for late night Christmas shopping every Tuesday up until Christmas.

Shops at White River Place will be open until 8pm every Tuesday from November 25 to December 23 so shoppers can grab some seasonal bargains, with lots of activities going on around the centre to keep visitors entertained. The popular Handmade Market will also be running every late night Tuesday between 4pm and 8pm with a range of stalls - from hand-knitted goods to picture frames and crafting items - all handmade in Cornwall by local people.

As an added bonus to visitors, White River Place will be offering free parking for shoppers arriving in the car park after 4pm on late Tuesday shopping nights starting from Tuesday November 25 and running until Tuesday December 23. Cars arriving after 4pm can park for free until 11.30pm so you can make the most of the extended opening hours for the shops and restaurants in White River Place and across the town. 

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