While Bury St Edmunds is once again holding its Christmas market this weekend – one of the largest in the country – towns and villages in South Suffolk and North Essex are holding their own festive events.
l Sudbury – Is holding its annual Christmas fair tomorrow starting at 5pm with the Christmas lights being officially switched on at 6.30pm by the mayor Sue Ayres and Safiye Orman, 10, the winner of this year’s Christmas Card Competition.
During the evening carols will be played around the Christmas tree by the Salvation Army and the Choral Society will be singing carols in St Peter’s.
There will be a Christmas craft fair inside St Peter’s and various stalls outside in North Street and the Market Hill, including mulled wine and mince pies.
Father Christmas will be in the Rotary float on the Market Hill from 5pm. Attractions for this year include a mobile synthetic ice skating rink, an inflatable bouncy snow globe, various fairground attractions/rides, a circus workshop and displays from fire-performers FireFlow, the Phoenix Suffolk Community Marchers plus a visit by Elsa and Anna - Frozen impersonators.
l Clare – The Christmas fair will be a two day affair, running on Friday evening and during the day on Saturday.
The new Clare Christmas Fair is being run by the Clare Community Association with stall selling gifts, decorations, crafts and Christmas produce all in the atmospheric candlelit surroundings of the church.
Visitors will be welcomed with a complimentary glass of something warming to enjoy while browsing the stalls.
There will be Christmas music from ‘Polished Brass’, a section of the Haverhill Silver Band who will be playing outside the church between 6pm and 7pm on Friday evening, along with hot roasted chestnuts on sale.
There will also be a raffle with proceeds helping to maintain the church.
The fair will be open from 5-9pm on Friday and 10am to 4pm on Saturday. Admission is free.
l Hadleigh – The annual lighting of Keiron and Alice Ruddy’s home this year has an extra twist with stalls, Father Christmas and live entertainment as part of the official lighting ceremony on Saturday.
The event starts at 5pm, with Long Bessels closed off to traffic. The lights at the house will be switched on at around 6.45pm, with the Christmas tree switch on at the Catholic Church of Saint Joseph at around 7pm.
As well as a variety of stalls and games, there will be musical entertainment including Christmas carols, Santa’s sleigh and reindeer for children to have their photo taken with.
The event will be raising funds for Hadleigh Amateur Dramatic Society and Playstation Pre-school.
l Halstead – The town’s Christmas fair takes place on Saturday in the town centre.
As well as a Christmas market, visitors can take part in wreath-making and decorative icing demonstrations.
There were will be a range of entertainment throughout the day, while children can visit Father Christmas in his Grotto provided by the EACH shop.
There will even be a petting zoo from 11am to 2.30pm.
The Christmas lights switch on will take place in Halstead Public Gardens at 4.30pm.
l Long Melford – There’s lots to enjoy at Melford Olde Christmas taking place on Sunday with Father Christmas, a snow machine, reindeers, donkeys and historical figures, as well as festive music and a silver band.
The day will finish at dusk with a lantern parade through the village to light up the Christmas tree on the Little Green.
The village will be revelling in Christmas from midday and entertainment will include Punch and Judy, morris dancing, stilt walkers, a medieval jester, hawks and falcons, festive singers and musicians, juggling and a Victorian magic show.
Children will be able to pet the reindeer and donkeys, visit Father Christmas in his grotto, play under the snow and bubble machines and follow the snowflake trail along the village.
For the adults there will be spicy mulled drinks and traditional nibbles, hot chestnuts and a festive hog roast out on the street.
The day will culminate in Lantern Parade starting at 4pm from outside the library through the village to the Little Green. There Father Christmas and the Christmas Fairy will switch on the lights on the Big Tree. This will be followed by carol singing.
l Lavenham – There is a full weekend of festive fun in Lavenham from Friday, December 2 to Sunday, December 4.
For Christmas shoppers there will be 40 stalls to browse, a food market, live entertainment, Father Christmas in his grotto, children’s fairground rides and a funfair, strolling Disney entertainers, wine bar, hog roast, hot food and mulled wine.
Father Christmas will arrive at 5.30pm on Friday for the grand ceremonial opening and the traditional switching-on of the village lights and giant Christmas tree.
After their success last year the D’Ukes Ukelele Band will then begin their three hour performance.
They will perform again on Saturday afternoon, along with other musical acts including Contemporary Upbeat choir, who will be singing in the Market Place from 11 am to midday on Saturday.
The fair runs 5.30pm to 8pm on Friday, 11am to 5pm on Saturday and 11am to 4pm on Sunday. For more information go to www.lovelavenham.co.uk.