Douglas will be going full-on festive this Christmas with not one but seven event areas, each hosting very different but equally magical attractions on Thursday, November 19.
The proceedings will start at 5.30pm and last through to 8.30pm with His Worship the Mayor of Douglas Councillor Jonathan Joughin JP addressing the town through a speaker system at 7pm when the Christmas lights will be switched on.
Castle Street will be transformed into an outdoor cinema featuring The Snowman on a loop with Douglas Town Centre Management supplying deck chairs and blankets to guard against the chill of the occasional flurries of ‘snow’ promised, while Sam Webbs’ licensed area will be offering hot drinks and mulled wine (normal licensing restrictions will apply).
Santa will be taking up residence in his Strand Centre grotto where he’ll be joined by his ‘little helpers’ from 3FM’s ‘donate a Christmas present’ team.
Granville Street will house an ice sculpture, carved, as in previous years by celebrated artists Stephanie Quayle and Darren Jackson and where a professional photographer will be on hand for spectators from 6 to 8pm before ‘meltdown’.
Howard Street will be filled with the sound of live music from local groups and bands, while Villiers Square will be transformed into a Winter Wonderland, complete with free children’s rides and stalls.
Douglas Town Band will be playing in Regent Street, the cast of Sleeping Beauty – this year’s Gaiety Theatre pantomime – will be in the town centre during the evening and well-known children’s characters will be visiting some of the shops, which promises to make for some memorable photo opportunities.
Duke Street will be turned into an amphitheatre where Hello Little People theatre group will be performing their Christmas Beg Adventure show three times during the evening and where nearby at the Henry Bloom Noble Library, elves will be hard at work hosting a Christmas craft workshop.
Duke Street will also be the starting point for a lantern parade that will make its way through all the event areas.
Douglas Town Centre Manager Oliver Cheshire said: ‘The “official” launch of Christmas in Douglas will be very different this year, but promises to deliver festive spirit in new and exciting ways the length and breadth of the town centre.
‘We’ve been delighted by the enthusiastic response of everyone taking part and with so many different sites hosting all kinds of attractions, we’ll be spreading a little Christmas magic from one end of the town to the other.’
Regeneration and Community Committee Chair Councillor Stephen Pitts said: ‘This year has been enormously challenging for us all. The Council was therefore determined to create something extra special this Christmas right in the heart of town that offered something for everyone and had the potential to substantially benefit local retailers who have all been experiencing exceptionally difficult trading conditions.
‘Not only will there be a whole host of family entertainment on offer but also, thanks to the Council’s partnership with the Department of Infrastructure, visitors coming to Douglas that evening by car will be able for park for free after 5pm in the Bottleneck, Shaw’s Brow and Chester Street car parks.’
Free parking on Thursdays after 5pm in the Bottleneck, Shaw’s Brow and Chester Street car parks began on Thursday October 29 and will continue until Thursday December 24.