A host of organisations in the town are collaborating on making a long weekend, with the Christmas lights switch-on being a part of a “very special start” to the festive season.
Town mayor Glenn Ginger said: “I am pleased to announce the new festival and welcome you all to join me for the beginning of the festive season.”
The festival will be held over the weekend November 25-27 and is all about lighting up the beautiful south Shropshire town and getting people into the festive spirit.
The town suffered the loss of its much-loved Medieval Christmas Fayre 2021 after it was cancelled due to Storm Arwen.
After 23 years of bringing festive joy to thousands of people, the firm behind the annual event announced that the losses of the last few years have been “too great for a small family business to bear”.
Now organisations in the town have rallied round to run festive markets on the square over the entire weekend, A Christmas bazaar and craft market in St Laurence’s Church and a Makers’ Market in the castle.
The festival will also give people a great opportunity to get a head start with their Christmas shopping.
The collaborating organisations include Ludlow Town Council, Ludlow Chamber of Commerce, Ludlow Castle, St Laurence’s Church, Ludlow Fringe and Love Ludlow as well as many local businesses.
Weekend events will kick off on the Friday evening with a festive tractor run through the town featuring tractors decorated in Christmas lights, organised by Orleton Young Farmers, with a community evening from 5pm to 9pm featuring a Beer, Pizza and Open Mic night in St Laurence’s.
Saturday is going to be jam-packed with exciting events around the town centre, such as Santa’s Grotto with his reindeer, a free lantern-making workshop and the Sunshine Radio stage, which will feature Jack and the Beanstalk characters and live music from local choirs.
It’s all geared towards the main event, the switching on of the lights, which will be happening at 5pm on Saturday, November 26, in Market Square shortly followed by the Rotary Tree Of light switch-on, before the castle opens its doors for the eagerly anticipated Festival of Light.
Closing the winter festival on Sunday November 27 at 7.30pm there will be a fantastic night of comedy at Ludlow Brewery, with emerging comedian and writer Tal Davies, Welsh comedian Noel James and special guest comedian Alistair McGowan, with Paul Jennings as compere.
A full itinerary of the event is:
9-4pm: Festive Market on Castle Square
5-9pm: Christmas Bazaar in St Laurence’s Church
7.30pm: Orleton Young Farmers Light up the Night Charity Tractor Run, ending in the Market Square where the tractors will be displayed.
9-6pm: Festive Market on Castle Square
10am-5pm: The St Laurence’s Winter Craft Fair and the Winter Festival competition and other activities for children
1-9pm: Artisan Makers’ Market in the Beacon Rooms @ Ludlow Castle
2-4pm: Santa’s Grotto with his reindeer
2-5pm: Sunshine Radio stage has local choirs performing, panto characters in fancy dress and the town band performing Christmas favourites all on the Market Square.
2.30-4.30pm: Family lantern-making workshop at The Women’s Centre. Bring your family along to this FREE workshop to make your very own LED lantern. Take it for a wander around the Castle Gardens and then be ready for the light switch on. Hot chocolate and mulled wine for sale. All ages welcome. Free admission.
5pm: Christmas lights and Rotary Tree of Light switch-on!
5.30-9.30pm: Festival of Light in Ludlow Castle. A magical evening of light during which you will experience the castle as you never have before. Buildings will be transformed with Christmas-themed moving images, lights and sounds.
7.30pm: Eliza Carthy & The Restitution at Ludlow Assembly Rooms. ‘Queen Of The Whirl’ is a celebration of 30 years of silliness and profundity, with a crack team of musicians made up of Eliza’s colleagues and counterparts.
9-4pm: Christmas Market on The Square
7.30pm: Stand-up comedy at The Brewery. An evening of laughs from Noel James, Tal Davies with guest Alistair McGowan and compere Paul Jennings.