Residents and visitors are being encouraged to support local traders in Taunton this festive season.
The Council is offering an incentive to shop locally with free parking in seven town centre car parks on the Friday and Saturday afternoons before Christmas.
There will be free parking from midday on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 December at the Canon Street, Castle Street, Enfield, High Street, Orchard, Tangier and Wood Street car parks.
Cllr Roger Habgood, Executive Councillor for Planning and Transportation, said: “We hope that people will take advantage of this generous car parking offer over one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year. I would encourage people to come to Taunton, save on their parking and spend their money at the tills instead.”
The Council is focusing on a traditional Christmas with lights and a tree in the town centre as usual, and carols in Vivary Park.
The tree is once again being donated by Langford Lakes and the Taunton Farmers Market which has been trading in the town centre since 1999. It will be erected in its usual spot outside the Market House, adorned with lights and unique decorations provided by Go Create and picket fencing donated by Westwood Fencing.
The tree will light up following a switch-on event at the Orchard Shopping Centre to co-incide with the first late night shopping evening on Thursday 30th November.
Taunton Deane Mayor, Cllr Hazel Prior-Sankey, will perform the Orchard switch-on with help from Santa at the event which will also feature performances from Taunton’s Got Talent finalists, a fire and light show, light stilt walkers, face painting and refreshments.
Late night shopping will continue on Thursday 7th, 14th and 21st December, with some shops opening late on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd December. The High Street Christmas chalet market is already up and running until Saturday 7th January and will be joined by the Fore Street craft market which will be open from 29th November to 20th December, and there will be brass bands, buskers, choirs and street performers in the town centre on every Saturday in December.
A highlight for many will be the Christmas Carol Concert at the bandstand in Vivary Park on Monday 18th December. The concert at 6.30pm will star the Taunton Concert Band, the New Horizon Singers and the Taunton Deane Male Voice Choir.
Cllr Mark Edwards, Events Champion and Deputy Leader of the Council, said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who is contributing to the Christmas programme this year with events, sponsorship and support. It is our privilege to work with businesses and individuals who are keen to promote Taunton over the festive season and I hope our combined efforts will be enjoyed by all ages.”
Details of all these Christmas events and many more being held across Taunton Deane can be found online in the special Christmas section at http://www.visitsomerset.co.uk/taunton or via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by searching for Visit Taunton.