A new festive event is being planned in Sidmouth in December where public gardens will come alive with lights.
The Connaught@Christmas event – expected to run from December 7-12 – promises seasonal entertainment in a bid to boost Sidmouth’s celebrations, with creative light displays, local crafts and food on sale.
The town’s Connaught Gardens, trees and paths will be illuminated using low energy lighting and LED technology.
A Santa’s grotto is expected and performances from local musicians and singers.
Organisers said a limited number of tickets with staggered entrance times will ensure a clear passage around the gardens.
Access for wheelchair users was being ‘carefully considered’, using existing paths within the gardens.
Across in Manor Road car park will be free-to-visit Christmas craft fair and street food village for all, with a ‘strong focus’ on local craft traders and food vendors showcasing Westcountry creativity and produce.
The idea for the new event has come from John Radford, who grew up in Sidmouth and now lives in Somerset.
John, who has been involved with town’s folk festival for more than a decade, the Hay Festival, Ottery Tar Barrels and Underneath the Stars Festival, said: “Everyone is anticipating that Christmas 2021 will be a chance to enjoy time together and get back into the true spirit of the season, which we all missed so much last year.
“Not having a crystal ball no one knows what will happen over the coming months. But there’s no doubt that as long as it is safe to do so, we all want to have the brightest celebration possible.”
David Cook, Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce chairman, said: “Making one of the town’s wonderful assets the focus of attention at Christmas is exactly the type of event needed to attract people in.
“It is bound to give an uplift to local businesses and bring joy to the Sidmouth community.”
He added: “The combination of accessibility and its stunning setting makes Connaught Gardens the perfect location.
“And with John’s connections to the town and the events sector, we’re sure it will be a great success.”
More information will be available once the event website goes live.