Santa will have to perform a manouvre or two to park his sleigh in Hemel Hempstead’s changing town centre, but he’ll still be around to switch on the Christmas lights at the end of this month.
While Marlowes is currently mid-facelift – with 10ft trees due to planted over the next couple of the weeks – it’s all set to welcome the good old St Nick as he starts the town’s festive countdown on Sunday, November 30.
Heart FM radio – including presenter Daniel Fox – will be on stage from 4.30pm outside Tiki Cafe to welcome people and organise entertainment for all the family.
They will be supported by girl group Vanquish – who supported Westlife on tour in their former incarnation and will be providing live music on the night.
Santa will be joined by another jolly figure in a red coat – Mayor of Dacorum Cllr Allan Lawson – to switch on the lights at 5.30pm, followed by a fireworks display.
In the last couple of days, Christmas trees have also been erected in the Market Square and Old Town.
Dacorum Borough Council began major improvement works to Marlowes pedestrianised shopping area back in August, as part of its £30 million Hemel Evolution town centre regeneration programme.
The authority has confirmed the work is now pausing as planned, to allow Christmas shopping and festivities to go ahead without disruption.
The council, which is also organising the lights switch on, reports that most of the paving in the first phase of the works has now been completed.
Drainage systems have also been dug, electrical ducting laid and some of the large specimen trees will be planted over the next couple of weeks.
Shops have stayed open throughout the work, while see-through fencing has allowed pedestrians to see the transformation taking place.
Council leader Andrew Williams said: “Our Hemel Evolution regeneration programme is all about making our town centre a more attractive and welcoming place for shoppers, residents and visitors, so please do come and see what we’ve achieved so far.
“Doing your Christmas shopping in the town centre supports the local economy and encourages more retailers into our town – while you get to soak up the community spirit, enjoy the festive atmosphere and begin the countdown to the big day.
“Work might be pausing on Marlowes, but we’ll be keeping momentum going, and are looking at carrying out some low key activities to help us get back up to speed quickly when we start work again on Monday, January 5.”
There are plenty of other Christmas events taking place around the borough this month, too. Community Action Dacorum are again organising the annual Christmas lights switch-on in the Old Town, due to take place this Saturday, November 15 from 4pm to 7pm.
This will be the 16th year of the event, which until now has been known as the Victorian Evening as it began in 1998 by marking 100 years since Queen Victoria granted the charter to the town.
For more, click here. The Tring Together Christmas Festival takes place on Friday, November 28 from 6.30pm to 9.30pm in Tring’s High Street.
The following day – Saturday, November 29 – the Kings Langley Christmas Festival will be held in the village High Street from 3pm to 7pm, and on the Sunday, November 30,the Berkhamsted Festival of Lights will run from 3.30pm in High Street, Berkhamsted.
For more information about the lights switch on visit www.dacorum.gov.uk or call 01442 228000 and ask for the town centre team.