STURMINSTER Newton is gearing up for Christmas with a host of events and activities.
The SturAction team, which organises and coordinates a host of events in the town, has revealed a series of diary dates in November and December.
On November 24, a range of shops are opening for a special late-night shopping event, running until 8pm.
1855 Sturminster Newton will be celebrating its first birthday on the same night, with live music from The Jazz Trio, running from 6pm.
On the day, there will also be an opportunity for visitors to take a peek in St Mary’s Church at the very first Christmas Tree Festival ahead of the annual Christmas Tree Light Switch On, which takes place the following night.
That Saturday (November 25) will include the Anonymous Travelling Market, Christmas Market at The Exchange, the William Barnes School Choir, Bulgarian dancing, Bib the Bike, Sturminster Newton High School Choir and Father Christmas at 1855 Sturminster Newton.
Ahead of the big switch-on, a Lantern Making Workshop will run at The Exchange between 3pm and 4.30pm, ahead of the annual Lantern Parade which takes place just before the Christmas Tree Light Switch On at 5pm.
Afterwards, the parade will then continue, led by Father Christmas, from the Market Place and down Church Street to St Mary’s Church for refreshments and for another chance to look at the trees on display.
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“For additional seasonal joy, take a stroll around the town to appreciate the stunning shop window displays and take part in the Sturminster Newton Window Competition organised by Chaffers Estate Agents,” a spokesperson said.
Competition entry forms can be collected from their office, The Exchange, Hansons Fabrics & Crafts, or The Emporium.
SturAction raises funds for Sturminster Newton projects through profits provided by sales in its four shops (The Boutique, The Emporium, Furniture Warehouse and 1855 Sturminster Newton).
To boost trade, SturAction, which raises funds for town events, has paid Dorset Council to ensure there is free parking on November 25 and December 9, 16 and 23.