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Boston's BIG Christmas event

Christmas is coming... the uncommonly mild weather may say different, but, in Boston at least, the festive period begins on Thursday, November 23.

And this year it's going to be a spectacular start with new lights, extra Christmas trees, free entertainment, an extra market and an illuminated parade.

Boston's big event begins at noon with the Mayor, Cllr Bernard Rush, declaring the Christmas Market open. There will a short performance by a local choir to get everyone in seasonal mood.

Demand for market stalls has grown and grown and traders will be found in the Market Place, Wide Bargate and Boston Stump.

At 4pm Blackfriars Theatre will tell the story of Cinderella from the staging in the Market Place.

Santa will be in his grotto in Boston Stump, where face painting will be available from 4pm.

In the evening the free entertainment in the Market Place will continue, headlined by singer Kennie J. You can sample Kennie here http://bit.ly/2yNkEw4

Thanks to generous sponsorship by Hoppers jewellers there will be free parking from 4pm in borough council-owned car parks. The Cattle Market car park (PE21 6RX), Tunnard Street (PE21 6PL) or St George's Road (PE21 8YB) have been recommended as the best to use.

The third Illuminate parade will take place ahead of the Christmas lights switch-on. The parade, made up of mainly schoolchildren who have built their own lanterns, will celebrate the story of the Pilgrims, leading up to the international celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower in 2020. This year's festival will build on the light parades and stunning projects of Illuminate 2015 (ships and stars) and 2016 (birds), with the themes of hope and betrayal.

Children from two classes at St Thomas', two from Boston West and one class each from Wyberton and Wrangle primary schools and Giles Academy have been busy creating spectacular new lanterns for the parade.

There will also be open lantern-making sessions at Boston Guildhall on Saturday, November 18, from 11am to 3pm. Anyone can come providing they are free to attend the Illuminate procession itself. Places on these workshops need to be booked, so to book yours email Transported@litc.org.uk

New volunteer group, Christmas in Boston, has been busy fundraising and, with match funding from Boston Town Area Committee, will light the town up with Christmas lights and more than one Christmas tree. The lights will be switched on by children who entered poems in a Christmas in Boston and Me competition.

All the lanes leading to the Market Place will be illuminated, a new respectful display to remember those who sacrificed their lives for the town is being fitted and a memorial lantern scheme has been well received.

The main town tree will have a new location, more central to the eye of those approaching from Town Bridge.

Christmas in Boston committee chairman, Dylan Taylor said: "Our team of electricians have been working countless hours of their own time, to make Boston the brightest it has ever been. Our support team has also provided unconditional dedication, to ensure that all the finances, marketing, health and safety and everything else thinkable is covered.

"I am really excited to see the lights switched on following the hard work that everyone has put in."

And it doesn't end there. There will be a second Christmas event, a Festive Market on Sunday, December 17, starting at 9.30am, together with a free showing in the afternoon in the Stump of the festive family favourite film Elf.

The best decorated Christmas shop window competition is to take place again this year. There will be trophies and cash donations to the charities of the winners' choices. To enter contact Pauline Chapman on 01205 314211 or email Pauline.chapman@boston.gov.uk confirming the name of your business, your contact details and the category you are entering - local/independent or multiple/chain store or charity. Deadline is November 22 and all displays need to be ready for judging by November 23.

In addition, this year businesses can sign up for a new scheme with each designated one day of the advent calendar (December 1 to December 24). On their "advent" day each business will have the opportunity to promote its business, including details of any in-store Christmas offers, changes to opening times during the festive season, etc. This information will go onto the borough council's social media platforms and will be publicised throughout the day.

To register your interest in the advent scheme please contact Pauline Chapman on 01205 314211 or email Pauline.chapman@boston.gov.uk confirming the name of your business, contact details, and your preferred day of the advent calendar.

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