Big switch-on turns us all on to festive season!

Malvern Gazette: THE STREETS ARE PACKED: People from all over Malvern and the surrounding area turned out to see the Christmas lights switched on. THE STREETS ARE PACKED: People from all over Malvern and the surrounding area turned out to see the Christmas lights switched on.

FESTIVE cheer shone brightly as Malvern enjoyed its busiest Christmas lights switch-on.

Seasonal revellers from far and near packed the centre of Great Malvern on Saturday as the Great Christmas Festival 2013 brought the annual season of goodwill to the town.

Thousands of people enjoyed a bigger-than-ever arts and crafts fair in the grounds of Great Malvern Priory, street entertainers, a display of vintage cars on Church Street and much more.

The honour of turning on the town’s illumination fell to the stars of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Malvern Theatres – Sue Holderness, best known as Marlene from Only Fools and Horses, and Olivia Birchenough – along with Mayor Julian Roskam.

They were led up to Belle Vue Island by an impressive lantern parade featuring a bumper cast of 300 schoolchildren, dancers and performers.

Councillor Phil Grove, Malvern Hills District Council’s portfolio holder for economic development, praised the joint effort that also involved community groups, market traders, businesses, shops and the town council. “Saturday’s Christmas festival in Malvern is a great example of the local community joining together and helping to stimulate and support sales on the high street,” he said.

“The Great Christmas Festival and lights switch-on gets more and more popular each year. This year, Malvern was busier than ever before, with local traders benefiting from an increase in sales due to the large numbers of visitors to the town.”

Coun Grove added: “The fantastic lantern parade and high quality local products on offer at the crafts market, along with showcasing our unique local businesses make this a unique and popular annual event.”

Father Christmas met children in his grotto at Malvern Library and live music was provided around the town centre by a selection of musicians.

Traders reported enjoying a brisk trade, while more than 4,000 people passed through the doors of Great Malvern Priory. Free parking on Fridays and Saturdays continues in the council’s car parks throughout Malvern (Belle Vue Terrace, Edith Walk, Grange Road, Victoria Road, Priory Road and Geraldine Road) plus Hanley Road and New Street in Upton until midnight on Saturday, December 21.

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