16 November 2008

When the lights go on all over the Tees Valley

This month sees the launch of Stockton’s first ever Christmas Market Fair which promises treats and delights for all the family. The fair kicks off the five-week long Stockton Sparkles Christmas Festival celebrations which sees events being held every weekend before Christmas Eve, encouraging shoppers and visitors into the town centre. The market, which will run from November 27-30, will feature delicious food from local farmers, a Victorian themed funfair, street entertainment and a Christmas Circus. Stockton’s Parish Gardens will be filled with log cabins hosting crafts people with a variety of gifts to sell, as well as vendors selling hot food and drink, including mulled wine and German sausage.

Stockton Council is funding the festival for three years, culminating in 2010 with the 700th anniversary of the Stockton Market Charter. After 2010 it is expected the Christmas Market Fair will become a self-funding annual event. The run-up to all the Christmas festivities begins on Sunday, November 23 – the day of the Christmas light switch-on which will be performed by Emmerdale’s Charlie Hardwick, who plays Val. The four-day Christmas Market Fair begins on Thursday, November 27. Throughout these four days there will be a stage in the Green Dragon Yard for live music and performances in the Georgian Theatre. A Farmers’ Market will be running in

Wellington Square on the Thursday with a mobile kitchen where a local chef will be demonstrating how to cook some of the products on offer from the farmers. On Friday, November 28, shoppers and visitors will be treated to a variety of entertainment including the Christmas Circus, a Christmas Market and Craft Fair in the Parish Gardens and live performances including Adrian the fire eater, performing pirates, the Snowmen Family and Man in a Xmas Present. The Victorian funfair will be found during all four days of the fair at the south end of the High Street with free entertainment and rides. The free Christmas Circus, on Riverside Road, will be giving 45-minute performances throughout all four days of the Christmas Market Fair as well as holding circus skills workshops for children. On Saturday, November 29, you can see local Bollywood dance troupe Navrang Arts, the Stockton Rhythm Train, and the Kings Choir Gospel Singers. The Christmas Market Fair draws to a close on Sunday, November 30, with the World Fair as well as entertainment from the winner of Stockton Council’s Busk Idol competition, Chris Wright, belly dancers from the Tees Valley and artist John Hicks’ Icons, upside down and revolving paintings of Christmas scenes executed to music.

A fireworks finale provides the final flourish. Other Stockton Sparkles events include a reindeer parade on Sunday, December 7, and Christmas Carnival Parade on December 14. In the week before Christmas the Christmas Land Train will be taking people up and down the High Street.

TEES Valley gets into the full festive spirit with Christmas lights being switched on around the region.

MIDDLESBROUGH: Thursday, November 13, from 5.30pm

Fun starts for the Middlesbrough Christmas lights switch-on from 5.30pm with the switch flicked on this year’s dazzling display at 6pm. You’ll also be able to see Glow, where performers use programmable juggling clubs which change colour, fade or strobe in unison with music and each other.

STOCKTON: Sunday November 23

EMMERDALE’S Charlie Hardwick, who plays Val, ably assisted by Santa will switch on the lights at 4.30pm. There will be fun in town from 2.30pm.
DARLINGTON: Sunday, November 23

THE fun starts in the Market Square at 3.15pm. Ian Reddington, star of the Darlington Civic’s panto, will then turn on the lights at 4.30pm followed by fireworks.

SALTBURN: Saturday, November 29

THE Christmas tree lights switch-on takes place on Albion Terrace. Marske Band will be playing from 4.30pm with carols

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