The festive season has got off to a fantastic start with late-night shopping events in both of Rutland’s market towns and the lights being switched on.
Uppingham kicked off on Thursday last week, with activities including an ice-skating rink and real reindeer.
Rutland Musical Theatre, choirs from the town’s primary schools, Sarah Bell’s choir of Mummys, Uppingham Jazz and Soul Band and Curtain Upp dance school all performed, while outside performers filled the streets.
Chairman of the organising committee for the event Miranda Jones said: “It was a really good evening and I couldn’t believe how many people were there. The town was packed!”
A new layout for the stalls worked well and many of the shops decorated for the occasion. Junk and Disorderly and Olivers both won top prizes in the retailers competition, judged by High Sheriff of Rutland Dr Sarah Furness. She later switched on the lights with mayor Alec Crombie and Rutland Radio’s Rob Persani.
Miranda added: “We owe huge thanks to all our sponsors and to the local retailers who stayed open late and put on a really good evening for the town and all the volunteers who marshalled on the evening.”
She also paid tribute to the organising committee, including Susie Burrows who is stepping down.
On Monday, it was the turn of Oakham and organiser Carolyn Acton said the town was the busiest she had ever seen it.
A cold - but not too cold - evening proved perfect conditions for a fireworks displayed sponsored by Tesco, and there were just under 100 stalls scattered through High Street, Mill Street, Gaol Street, Victoria Hall and Oakham Castle for shoppers to browse.
There was a light dusting of snow from the snow machine outside Victoria Hall but over at the Rutland Radio stage, where Rob Persani was hosting, it was bubbles filling the air.
Santa Claus paid a visit with Rutland Lions to hear the wishes of youngsters, who later took to the stage to sing carols.
Carolyn said it was the perfect start to a very happy Christmas for Rutlanders.
She said: “People have said it really did start the festivities off in style and it’s fantastic to hear that feedback. It was a really great night.”