Late shopping extravaganza in Malmesbury

TRADERS are hoping to see a packed town centre tomorrow night when the annual Christmas late shopping kick starts the festive season in Malmesbury.

Dozens of stalls and entertainments have been lined up for one of the biggest event in the town’s retail calendar and this December it has been made even bigger with stalls spreading to Abbey Row and Oxford Street for the first time.

Chamber of commerce chairman Aimee Frankham said: “We have got a huge variety of stalls this year, from children’s toys and crafts to Malmesbury Brewery and Mates cider from Minety.”

New barber barbershop owner Kristian Trimble is using the night to launch his business while a pop up book shop is opening up for December.

She explained the decision to extend stalls out from the High Street was based on the direction most customers walked in to the centre. “About 80 per cent of people come up Abbey Row, so that’s where we’re starting it.

“Also for the first time the Abbey have allowed us to use Birdcage Walk for charity stalls and we are also having some stalls in Oxford Street.”

She said there had also been a lot of careful planning to make sure the evening did not clash with late shopping nights in other nearby towns. “The evening this year was all about choosing the right date.”

Old favourites like Father Christmas in his grotto are making a return to the programme. Local children have been busy painting pictures to decorate the temporary home where he will be stationed from 6.30pm to hand out presents.

Malmesbury Music Academy’s house band are providing musical entertainment until 7.30 pm when carollers and other entertainers will take over.

A merry-go-round is being set up in the market cross and there will be children’s activities at Bridges Lockstone. The Museum and tourist information centre will be open for mulled wine, while a vintage French fire engine which has been turned into a kitchen will be selling hot food.

A park and ride scheme will operate from Malmesbury Garden Centre and the Market Cross, Upper High Street, Oxford Street and Abbey Row will be closed to traffic from 4.30pm.

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