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The historic town of Sherborne will once again light up for Christmas with a free-entry ‘Love a Local Christmas’ Festive Shopping Day on Sunday 7th December from 10am–4pm. Organised by volunteers from Sherborne Chamber of Trade & Commerce,  supported by Sherborne Town Council and Battens Charitable Trust, the event offers a great family day out, while raising awareness for many local charities.

Sherborne’s Festive Shopping Day is always well supported as the town puts on a whole host of different musical, fun and entertaining activities. The main shopping area of Cheap Street is closed to traffic allowing street performers and ‘Stiltskin’ stilt walkers, choirs, bands, orchestras, carollers, dancers and even a ‘Victorian’ chestnut roaster to provide entertainment outside Kafe Fontana. The Abbey Church welcomes visitors to join in its joyful shoppers’ carol services, held throughout the afternoon, and to wonder at its magnificent ceiling-high Christmas tree and traditional crib scene. The Cheap Street Church stages its ever-popular Christmas Tree Festival too, featuring dozens of twinkling trees, all delightfully and individually decorated.

A new attraction this year is Sherborne Chamber’s Christmas Prize Draw, running from 29th November – 13th December. The draw is free to enter; shoppers simply collect eight different stamps (when they purchase an item worth £5 or more from a choice more than thirty participating retailers) for a chance to win a collection of gifts and vouchers worth £1000.

Dorset Farmers’ Market will be in full swing all day in Cheap Street while Butterfly Bright’s Artisan Market (free entry) takes place at the Digby Hall, Digby Road from 10am-3.30pm while the Christmas Fairy models balloons and adds a sprinkling of fairy dust to the proceedings throughout the day.

There will be plenty of fun for children, including a crafting competition for the best handmade Christmas decoration, which can be knitted, crocheted, stitched, sewn or glued and delivered to sponsors Butterfly Bright before December 5th. Every entry will be displayed on a special Christmas tree at the Artisan Market on 7th December and winners for all age groups announced later that day. Schools and nursery groups are encouraged to enter and can find out more at www.butterflybright.com.

Santa will of course be taking up residence in his Grotto (but with a change of location this year to outside The Raleigh Hall, Digby Road) when every little person receives a gift from him (in return for a small entry fee of £2).  A Children’s Festive Craft Workshop, including mini lantern making, takes place from 12.00-3.00pm at The Rendezvous Centre, organised by Artslink in association with TakepArt, and a shop window competition organised by the girls from ‘Gathered’ will keep little ones busy looking for Rudolph and friends with their Rudolf Window Decoration Competition as the grown-ups enjoy the atmosphere  in town (and maybe the occasional mulled wine!).

Visitors will of course be able to browse Sherborne’s wonderful shops, all offering great ideas for Christmas gifts, treats, pampering and entertaining as well as countless places to enjoy something to eat or drink in the many coffee shops, restaurants and pubs the town has to offer. There’s the award-winning Christmas display at Castle Gardens too, just five minutes drive from the town centre.

The highlight of the event will be a festive and fun parade along Cheap Street, which everyone is invited to join, led by colourful musicians and dancers, the ‘Hobos Morris’, before a traditional bagpiper welcomes everyone to the Conduit Christmas tree around 4.15pm, where choirs will sing and hundreds of lights will be illuminated. The day ends just in time for visitors to join Sherborne Abbey’s annual family-friendly Christingle service at 5pm, which is always a very special occasion.

Follow all the news of what’s happening on twitter at @shopinsherborne where Sherborne invites you to ‘Love a Local Christmas’ this year.

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