Santa launches late night shopping

You better watch out, you better not cry, better not pout I'm telling you why…Santa Claus is coming to town!

Lizzie Parry

IPSWICH: You better watch out, you better not cry, better not pout I'm telling you why…Santa Claus is coming to town!

Flanked by his band of elves, Santa and his sleigh will sweep through the town centre tonight travelling to the Cornhill illuminating the streets as they pass.

The dazzling lights will magically light up the main thoroughfare, the Waterfront and the Town Hall as Santa launches the five-week build-up to Christmas.

Guiding the sleigh the First Wolsey Rainbows will lead the procession displaying colourful lanterns they have crafted themselves.

The festive fever kicks off tonight as shops in the town centre throw open their doors late into the evening as the Christmas shopping extravaganza gets underway.

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Instead of just one lights switch-on event Ipswich Central and Ipswich Borough Council have planned a series of fun-packed evenings every Thursday up until Christmas.

They will feature street dancers, a retail treasure hunt, human statues, stilt walkers, cookery demonstrations and street pantomimes.

And at the centre of the festivities, the Evening Star's Christmas tree in the Cornhill will once again tower above the thousands of shoppers expected to flood in to enjoy the shopping experience.

Paul Clement, executive director of Ipswich Central, said town centre bosses are excited about the package of events and activities for Christmas.

He said the switch-on event became a victim of its own success last year with thousands of people flocking to the Cornhill to witness the event, many missing out on getting a good view.

Mr Clement said: “This year we have taken this into consideration and devised a programme of events which is spread over the town and over five Thursday evenings so that everyone can get involved and the atmosphere continues each week, right up until Christmas.

“A lot of work has been put into creating five great nights of festivity for those coming to the town to do their Christmas shopping this year.

“I am personally looking forward to seeing the town transformed into an arena of colour, noise, activity and celebration in a way that simply hasn't been done within Ipswich during the Christmas build-up before.”

What do you think Ipswich's festive celebrations? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

In the wake of the closure of Ipswich's biggest car park, the Crown Car Park, town centre bosses have worked to provide a host of alternatives.

Shoppers heading into town for the late night shopping evenings will be offered a range of easy, stress-free options.

Over the last week, 60,000 homes have received information from Archant Suffolk about where they can park.

There will be an extended Park & Ride service as well as a free shuttle bus service from Portman Road car park.

Mr Clement said: “We are keen to ensure that shoppers get the very best experience when they head into the town centre for this year's late-night Thursdays.

“In the knowledge that Crown car park would potentially be closed, we began discussion with Ipswich Borough Council to ensure that as many alternatives could be found as possible.

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