FESTIVE fever is about to
sweep across Hampshire
as the countdown to
Christmas officially begins today.
From giant glittery baubles, to
twinkling trees and celebrity
guests to add extra sparkle, the
county is gearing up for a wave of
spectacular Christmas celebrations
to welcome in the season.
And first to spread some Christmas
magic are Southampton and
Winchester, which will both illuminate
their city centres with the
big Christmas switch-on tonight in
front of thousands.
Southampton’s Festival of
Christmas will start in style at
4.15pm with an extravaganza of
festive fun for shoppers to enjoy,
including the return of the popular
market with more than 40
traders opening their wooden huts
to the public.
Back by popular demand is the
Decathlon-sponsored Ice Rink
right in the heart of the city beside
the Bargate.
Meanwhile WestQuay will be
packed full of live entertainment,
with musical and dance performances.
Crowds will be dazzled with
three big switch-ons, the first outside
the Marlands by the Mayor of
Southampton, Cllr Derek Burke, at
5.30pm, then in the Marlands and
WestQuay at 6pm.
Determined to keep hold of its
title as England’s Christmas
Capital, Winchester’s celebrations
will start at 3pm this afternoon by
the Guildhall, with celebrity
guests The Hoosiers turning on
the glittering lights at 6pm.
The crowds will then have the
chance to make the most of the festive
market stalls, live music, fun
and games, including a traditional
children’s ride to entertain youngsters.
Not to be outdone, Eastleigh will
jump on the festive wagon on
November 24, followed by
Fareham on November 25.
Drawing in the crowds in
Fareham will be special guest
Peppa Pig, who will have the honour
of switching on the festive display
in West Street, at 4.30pm,
before meeting and greeting her
Santa will be taking time
out of his busy schedule to make
an appearance in Eastleigh to lead
the Christmas Light
Parade through the town at 5pm.