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Helmsley celebrates Christmas Favourites for a season of festive fun

Helmsley is to host its seventh annual Christmas Tree Festival, which promises to be the most dazzling yet.

Timed to coincide with the town’s Christmas light switch on, at which Swinton Brass Band will be playing, a preview evening will take place on Friday 29th November at Helmsley’s All Saints Church. The festival then officially opens on Saturday 30th November and is open daily, from 10am to 4pm, until Sunday 15th December.

The festival features 25 trees which have been individually decorated by businesses and organisations around the town on a theme – which this year is Christmas Favourites. Entry is free, but money raised from donations will be split between St Leonard’s Hospice, All Saints Church and the Helmsley in Business group.

Helmsley will also honour its annual celebration of Small Business Saturday on 7th December, with a Christmas event in the Market Place. With stalls, tastings, table top sales, competitions, craft demonstrations and panto-themed fancy dress, it promises to be a day of festive fun, celebrating the many independent businesses in the town. Ryedale District Council has kindly provided £1.50 all day parking at the Cleveland Way car park.

Families visiting in December will also be able to take part in a special Beanstalk Window Trail around the town. Tying into Helmsley Art Centre’s pantomime this year, the trail will take visitors around Helmsley looking for what is hidden at the top of a number of beanstalks. Anyone correctly finding all the answers will win a small prize. Entry forms can be collected from any of the participating businesses, the Christmas Tree Festival, Helmsley Library or the Helmsley in Business stall on Small Business Saturday.

The events have been organised by the Helmsley in Business group, which fundraises each year to buy more Christmas decorations for the town, having spent more than £10,000 on new lights over the last few years. The Christmas Tree Festival is organised in conjunction with All Saints Church.

Lynn Hempsall, treasurer at Helmsley in Business and owner of Helmsley Traditional Sweet Shop, said: “We know people look forward to the Christmas Tree Festival and it creates a real buzz around town, so we are delighted to announce the details of this year’s event.  Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity for us to celebrate all the wonderful independent businesses in town, which make Helmsley the magical place it is – Christmas or not! We hope visitors and locals will come and join in all the festive fun, from beanstalk spotting to dads dressed as pantomime dames. We look forward to seeing you!”

The Christmas light switch on will take place at the town Christmas tree in the Market Place at 6pm on 29th November, before a procession leads the way to the Church for the Christmas Tree Festival Preview Evening at 6.30pm with music, mince pies and a glass of wine. Tickets are available at £5 each from Porters Coffee Shop and Helmsley Library.

For more information go to www.visithelmsley.co.uk