All light on the night in St Ives
CHRISTMAS in St Ives is gearing up to be the biggest and best ever with a host of events ranging from a spectacular lights switch-on, to late shopping and carol singing on the beach, to a puppet panto.
St Ives Chamber of Trade and Commerce has co-ordinated a packed Christmas programme and built up a team of 35 dedicated volunteers to bring to life what deputy mayor of St Ives Colin Nicholls has called "the biggest December St Ives has seen for a very long time".
By Saturday the finishing touches will be being put to the town by the St Ives In December volunteers.
The team has already begun setting up decorations and celebrations.
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It all follows research carried out last December and January to find out what people want in the town at Christmas.
Now the volunteers are delivering it.
Project leader Paul Ford said: "The team has worked tirelessly to make St Ives THE place to be this December."
Events organised include Santa arriving in the harbour by RNLI transport (likely to be the lifeboat tractor as the tide is going to be out, but nonetheless make for a fun spectacle) on December 6. This will be followed by a procession around the town led by a samba band.
On Friday, December 7 the lights will be switched on by ITV West Country presenter Ian Axton and ITV is expected to be filming live.
That Thursday and Friday, December 6 and 7, will also be late night shopping evenings with visitors benefiting from free car parking at selected places (at this stage the Stennack and adjacent surgery car parks, although others may be announced).
The atmosphere will be enhanced by musicians and street entertainers and to help shoppers there will also be a booklet of December offers from a varied selection of local businesses distributed locally.
Christmas cards, designed by three winners from local schools, will be on sale in a number of shops around the town and all the designs entered by local schoolchildren will be displayed in the Crypt Gallery courtesy of the St Ives Association of Artists.
On December 15 the whole town will become a market place with a Christmas food market at the Guildhall along with a hog roast outside, fun and games at the Sloop craft market and the Drill Hall and visitors can expect to see Kidz R Us Mother Goose characters wandering round town.
Along with all this the newly refurbished Boathouse Theatre will host the town's first puppet panto season.
It doesn't stop there.
There are carols round the tree on Wednesday, December 19 in Carbis Bay and carols on the beach on Thursday, December 20 in St Ives Harbour.
While listening to that you can try new December ice cream flavours from Moomaid and Willy Wallers who are in competition with each other in the first 'Ice Cream Battle'; try the ice cream and then vote for your favourite on the St Ives in December Facebook page.
Getting into St Ives to join the party is also going to be made easy.
On Saturday December 8, 15 and 22, six trains each day (between 10.15 am and 1pm) will leave St Erth.
The Santa Party Train will see travellers buy the standard ticket at the station but then buy their party ticket on the platform.
This will include a ticket to see Santa in his grotto at The Glass Tree on Fore Street.
Even after Christmas the fun doesn't stop.
There will be a golf competition with a difference at Tregenna Castle on Saturday, December 29. Players playing in fancy dress will get a four-stroke advantage and the chance to win one of many prizes available.
The St Ives chamber has dedicated a lot of time to ensuring that activities during St Ives In December are also communicated as well as possible.
To that end a dedicated website lists all the activities along with times and other relevant details and you can find this at www.stivesindecember.co.uk and a virtual guide, SID (St Ives in December) will answer any questions and keep you up to speed via social media on the dedicated Facebook page (search for St Ives in December) and on Twitter @StIvesDecember.