THE countdown is on for Ledbury’s Christmas lights switch-on which, for the market town, is traditionally seen as the beginning of the festive season.

The event traditionally attracts crowds of up to 2000 people, according to police estimates.

The date this year will be this Saturday, November 23, and there will be free parking throughout Ledbury on that day.

A Ledbury town council spokeswoman said: “ With the evenings becoming darker, Ledbury Town Council are excited for the upcoming Christmas Lights Switch on event.

“The events will kick off at The Masters House between 10am to 12.30pm and 1pm to 3pm with Sara-Jane Arbury and Jeanette McCulloch from Red Earth Arts. They will be holding free drop-in session creating fun and funky Christmas decorations made from recycled materials.”

The spokeswoman added: “Santa Clause will be in our Council offices between 2.30pm to 3.30pm and from 4pm to 5pm where each child will receive a gift bag full of festive treats. The entry fee will be £1 per child.

“The fun will continue in our Panelled Room from 2.30pm to 5pm for free festive makes and crafts including face painting, balloon modelling and a DIY Hot Chocolate Santa/Reindeer Cone ready to enjoy at home.”

A whole range of entertainment has been organised, with a focus on the Market House.

At 3pm, the Ledbury Dance Company Showcase will take place, and at 3.45pm, the Dance 365 Showcase will happen.

Festive music will fill the air at 4,30pm, with performances from Ledbury Community Brass Band and Ledbury Community Choir and school choirs.

The grand switch-on will take place at 5.15pm.

The spokeswoman said: “ Watch Ledbury light up.”

On Thursday, December 5, from 4pm to 8.30pm, there will be a a Ledbury Late Night Christmas Shopping event, to bring more festive cheer.

A spokesperson said: “Shoppers are in for a magical time at Ledbury’s Late Night Christmas Shopping evening with over 100 shops situated in the heart of Ledbury.

“There will be an abundance of festive treats and gifts on offer. Don’t forget to sample the delicious hot street food and drinks - the perfect way to keep warm whilst enjoying the market.”