Thousands expected at Horncastle’s annual Christmas Festival

Young performers from  Horncastle's Red Lion Theatre will again be appearing at this year's event

Young performers from Horncastle's Red Lion Theatre will again be appearing at this year's event

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Thousands of people are expected to descend on Horncastle next Sunday (December 6) for the town’s annual Christmas Festival.

Organisers are confident this year’s event will be the best yet and more than compensate for a disappointing event in the summer which was washed out by wet weather.

Peter Foster, a member of the festival’s organising committee, said Sunday’s event - billed as a ‘Christmas Cracker’ - will be targeted at families.

He said: “We’re confident we’ve put together a programme which will have something for everyone.

“We’ve specifically looked at making it more family orientated and there will be a lot of attractions for children.

“It’s always a popular event and this year it should be bigger than ever.

“We’re just hoping for good weather .”

East Lindsey District Council have already given organisers a boost by agreeing to free parking on The Wong.

Mr Foster added: “We’re very grateful to East Lindsey and it should be a big help on the day.

“Hopefully, the free parking might be extended to other community events next year.”

There will be more than 100 stalls - a record number - lining High Street, Bridge Street, North Street and the Bull Ring.

They will offer a range of goods and food - the vast majority produced locally.

A new attraction will be an exotic pet stall, which will offer children the chance to handle snakes, lizards and other reptiles in a safe and controlled environment.

Mr Foster added: “Apparently, the stallholder visits a lot of schools and his various animals are very popular with children.

“It’s something new but something we thought would appeal to children.”

There will be a host a live musical entertainment featuring the likes of the Taiko Drummers and The Billinghay Ruffs and youngsters from the Red Lion Theatre.

The community centre will be open and the town’s Brownies will be providing refreshments in another new initiative.

The market will be opened at 11am by mayor Councillor Angela Birchall, who has praised organisers for all their hard work.

Various road closures and diversions will be in place and organisers are asking that, where possible, visitors avoid on-street parking.

Many town businesses will be open, including the Sir Joseph Banks Centre.

In addition, more than 20 businesses have signed up to a ‘Find The Missing Minions’ competition. Minions will be hidden in shop windows and there are prizes for children who spot the most.