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Helmsley gets ready for the Big Light Up with a day of festive fun

Helmsley in Business has announced its festive plans for 2017, with Saturday 2nd December seeing the start of a magical Christmas in the town.

On the 2nd, local celebrity the Yorkshire Vet, Julian Norton, will be in town to perform the switch on of Helmsley’s Christmas lights at 5pm, before the first public opening of the popular annual Christmas Tree Festival, which this year follows the theme of ‘Stars’.

As one of the initial supporters of Small Business Saturday in the UK, which also takes place on 2nd December, Helmsley will be continuing the tradition of promoting it’s many independent businesses, with lots going on throughout the town to keep visitors entertained on the day, including late night Christmas shopping.

From 4pm, the Town Crier will be welcoming people with his record-breaking cries, and the Swinton Brass Band will get everyone in the mood for the Christmas season with some festive songs. There will be the mulled wine and mince pies and the chance to win goodies on the Jam Jar Raffle and tombola stalls. A Star Trail throughout the town will keep youngsters entertained and be an opportunity to explore some of the towns independent businesses, many of whom will be running individual competitions, tastings and activities to mark the day. The ‘star’ of the season – Santa – will be opening his grotto in the Town Hall at 5pm.

At 6pm, the Town Crier will lead the way to Helmsley’s All Saint’s Church for the official opening of the Christmas Tree Festival, accompanied by the Swinton Brass Band and carols.

The Helmsley Arts Centre will also be running the first two performances of its popular annual pantomime – this year Dick Whittington & His Cat – at 2.30 and 7.30pm.

For those who can’t wait until 2nd December to get in the festive spirit, a special preview evening of the Christmas Tree Festival will take place at All Saints Church on Friday 1st December. Opening at 6pm, visitors will be able to take a look at the trees whilst enjoying mulled wine and mince pies, and carols and music from Helmsley Community Primary School. Tickets cost £5 and are available from Viva Hair, Elijah Todds, Helmsley Primary School or on the door. The Christmas Tree Festival will run until 17th December, and is open daily from 10am to 4pm.

On the 2nd December, visitors will be able to park all day at Cleveland Way car park for just £1.50, thanks to Ryedale District Council. Free coach parking will also be available.

Jacky Pickering, chair of Helmsley in Business and who runs The Stick Man with husband Keith, said: “We’re delighted to be carrying on the town’s traditions of celebrating Small Business Saturday with fun and activities in town. Linking it in with the light switch on, which we’re very excited will be performed by the fantastic Julian Norton, and the opening of the Christmas Tree Festival means you’ll be hard pressed to find somewhere more festive on 2nd December this year!”

Every year since Small Business Saturday launched has seen a Helmsley business succeed in being named as part of the SBS100 – 100 businesses the campaign profiles nationally in the run up to the big day. This year the accolade was won by Helmsley Wines.

Mal Potter from Helmsley Wines commented: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be named as one of Small Business Saturday’s ‘Top 100’ businesses for 2017. It is a privilege to be recognised nationally, and this award echos the ethos of Helmsley Wines. We are a small independent business with a big heart. Our aim is to give our customers the ultimate experience and to keep the high street alive with exciting, quality wines and spirits. On Small Business Saturday we will be offering a selection of tasting events in store to thank our loyal and regular customers who have supported us since we opened in November 2013.”