Sadly, due to the current government Covid-19 restrictions and threat of spreading Coronavirus, the annual Late Night Christmas Shopping Event, which would have taken place on Wednesday 2nd December, will not take place this year. The decision is made with heavy hearts as it is one of the highlights of the year for the Town. The Chamber of Trade will still be organising the Town’s Christmas Lights and there will be a low-key switch on of the Christmas Tree lights in Hall Square, but to encourage large crowds to gather in the Town in the numbers we normally enjoy would be irresponsible. The pavements and shops are usually thronging, so social distancing would be impossible. There is nothing to prevent shops taking the initiative to open late (in a co-ordinated fashion – no point just one or two opening though) as that is likely to have no more impact with respect to Covid than normal daily opening as all the accompanying entertainment and support from other groups will not be there this year to attract the crowds.
However, it is still intended to run the competitions for the best-dressed Window and staff Fancy Dress. This year’s theme for both competitions is either a favourite Christmas Carol or Christmas Film. The competitions will be judged by our town’s Mayor, Pat Taylor, and the Chamber President, Derek Hufton. All High Street shops have been invited to participate. Judging will take place on Wednesday 2nd December and winners will be announced no later than Thursday 3rd. Last year the Window trophy went to K.M. & G. Farrer. There was no fancy dress prize last year but it is being reinstated this year with prizes for Best Team and also Best Individual. Hopefully this will contribute to the Town enjoying a good Christmas atmosphere building up to the big day, despite the current difficulties.
It goes without saying that these plans may change in line with any updates in government guidance!